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Orissa Steelers stay unbeaten
January 18, 2006 19:05 IST
Last Updated: January 18, 2006 19:53 IST
Orissa Steelers maintained a clean clate after a commanding 6-2 victory over Lucknow Nawabs in Tier II of the Premier Hockey League, at the Sector 42 Hockey Stadium in Chandigarh, on Wednesday.
Steelers are virtually assured of the Tier II title barring an upset by lowly Rangers in their last league match.
Earlier, Chennai Veerans scored in the last minute to overcame a spirited challenge from Imphal Rangers and score a thrilling 3-2 in another Tier 2 match.
Playing aggressive hockey, they attacked right from the start and shot into the lead in the seventh minute. Forwards Sunil Ekka, Rajesh Chauhan, Birender Lakra and Bruno Hadrian Lugun played like a well-oiled machine, making regular forays into the rival danger zone.
Skipper Sunil Ekka moved dribbled past a couple of defenders and sent a cross to Rajesh Chouhan in the circle and latter deflected the ball home in a flash. (1-0)
Four minutes later, they increased the margin through Birender Lakra. (2-0)
Thereafter, Nawabs created a couple of forays upfront, with Kamlesh being prominent in the attack, but all they could do was earn three penalty-corners which proved futile.
However, they pulled a goal back early in the second quarter through Prateek Srivastav, in the 21st minute. (2-1)
But Steelers struck back within five minutes, scoring from their first penalty-corner. They went for the direct hit but goalkeeper Raziuddin saved the first shot by Kuldeep Singh. The rebound was hit back by Rajesh Lakra, but the alert 'keeper recovered in time and saved once again. The ball came back to Birender Lakra, who beat the custodian this time. (3-1).
Steelers increased the margin with a minute to go for half-time through their second penalty-corner. They sold a dummy and Rajesh Lakra got the ball on the left and used a clever scoop to find the net. (4-1)
In the third quarter, Nawabs scored again, against the run of play, from their fifth and last set-piece drill. Arvind Yadav, who took the direct hit, found space between a prostrate goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh and the right post to make it 4-2.
However, Steelers scored two more goals for a comfortable victory to keep their lead in the league. Rajesh Lakra scored both with drag-flicks from the team's fourth and fifth penalty-corners in the 57th and 66th minutes.
Steelers converted four of their five penalty-corners, a success rate of 80 per cent.
Steelers lead the table with 18 points and play their last league match against Imphal Rangers on January 22.