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Hi-Fliers shoot out Steelers
December 21, 2007 21:52 IST
Sandeep Michael scooped over goalkeeper Gurpreet to convert the last chance in the tie-breaker to help Bangalore Hi-Fliers win their opening match against defending champions Orissa Steelers in the fourth edition of the Premier Hockey League in Chandigarh on Friday.
In the regulation time, both the teams were locked 2-all and failed to break the deadlock in the 10-minute extra-time, forcing the match to go into penalty shootouts.
In a thrilling and absorbing match, Bangalore had the upperhand with more penetrating moves in the first two quarters, but Orissa drew first blood.
Making the best use of a defensive lapse, Orissa shot ahead in the 25th minute. Eliazer Ekka wriggled out from Hi-Fliers' defender Len Aiyappa on top of the circle, turned around and sent in a blinder to beat Bharat Chetri in the Bangalore goal.
However, Bangalore persisted with their attacks and earned a penalty corner in the 41st minute. A defender took Aiyappa's drag-flick on the body and another short corner was awarded. This time Aiyappa's power-packed flick to the roof of the net went in like a bullet.
The equaliser, which came in the 42nd minute, saw both the teams increase the tempo of the game and the huge crowd witnessed some spectacular action.
Orissa took the lead once again in the 58th minute converting the third of their five penalty corners. Birender took the push and Ignace set the stage for William Xalxo, who sounded the board with a direct hit.
The Bangalore-Orissa match had all the elements of a thriller. With two minutes to go for the hooter, a fighting Bangalore earned their third and last short corner and once again drag flick specialist Aiyappa was bang on the target, his flick kissing a defender's stick and settling in the net.
The extra-time for the silver goal proved futile and the teams went into shoot-out. Ignace, Prabodh Tirkey and Roshan Minz scored for Orissa and Bimal Lakra, Arjun Halappa and Vikram Kanth found the target for Bangalore.
Shakeel Abassi of Orissa and and Tushar Khandekar of Bangalore missed the targets.
From the last try, Xalxo's attempt was saved by Bangalore goalkeeper Chetri and all eyes were on Bangalore's last man, Sandeep. He darted in, pulled the rival goalkeeper to the right and scooped over him to trigger celebrations in the Bangalore camp.
Hi-Fliers' custodian Chetri won the man of the match award.