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Dynamos ride on Sandeep's trick
December 31, 2007 21:03 IST
Riding on a brilliant hat-trick by drag-flick specialist Sandeep Singh, Chandigarh Dynamos rallied to beat Chennai Veerans by a silver goal to finish as joint-toppers in the fourth edition of the Premier Hockey League at the Sector 42 Stadium in Chandigarh on Monday.
Chennai Veerans may have lost all the matches, but on Monday they gave a fabulous display of attacking and strategic hockey that provided exciting moments for the huge crowd that turned up on the New Year's eve.
Dynamos were taken aback by the new-found energy of their rivals as they huffed and puffed to remain in the match.
Thanks to Sandeep, who converted three of the five short corners to become the man-of-the-match, the home team stretched the match into extra-time for the silver goal.
In the 76th minute, a move initiated by Gazanfar Ali in the midfield saw SS Gill put Deepak Thakur in possession in the circle. Deepak took a shot from the right of the circle but Chennai goalie Sreejesh blocked it.
The rebound went to Ravipal Singh at the top of the circle and the latter sent a fierce reverse-stick shot to slot the match-winning silver goal.
Earlier, Chennai hoisted the lead in the 15th minute through a brilliant field goal which showcased the speed and skill of their skipper Adam Sinclair.
Following a speedy run on the right flank, Adam took two defenders in his stride before giving a short through pass to Mahendra Singh in the corner and raced into the goalmouth.
Mahendra moved down on the goal line and from a zero angle scooped the ball into goalmouth. Adam lunged forward to tap the ball home before Dynamos custodian Swinder Singh could reach it.
Dynamos came back early in the second quarter to restore parity earning the first of their five short corners and Sandeep was bang on the target scoring a waist-high goal to the left of Sreejesh.
But Chennai displayed good determination and with the midfield controlling the game, the forwards played cohesive hockey and created patterns in the rival defence.
In the 34th minute, they shot ahead once again with their forwards V Raja and Suresh working like a well-oiled machine. The move culminated with Adam sending a measured shot to make it 2-1 in favour of the Veerans.
However, Dynamos drew level once again in the 44th minute with Sandeep in the thick of action. From the second short corner, his flick hit a defender and they earned another set-piece drill and this time the drag-flicker used his power and guile to send the ball into the top left corner of the net.
Chennai continued to apply pressure and earned three short corners in the space four minutes. Their penalty corner expert V Raghunath failed in the first two attempts but struck from the third, sending a power-packed drag-flick to the roof of the net.
But on a day where fortunes fluctuated at every turn, Chandigarh Dynamos equalised once again and kept themselves in the race earning the fifth and last of their short corners and Sandeep again struck to score the first hat-trick of PHL IV.
His low flick lacked the power but was deceptive enough to hit the boards to the goalkeeper's left.