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Steelers beat Sultans to stay on top
February 13, 2007 21:40 IST
Orissa Steelers outplayed Hyderabad Sultans, defeating them 2-0 in a do-or-die first encounter of the second leg of the Premier Hockey League in Chandigarh on Tuesday.
Placed on top with now with 17 points, Steelers went on the offensive only in the second half and did not allow the Sultans, who are placed at the bottom of the table with five points, any opportunity to build up a formidable counter attack.
The first goal for the Steelers came in the seventh minute of the second half when they earned their third penalty corner. Captain Dilip Tirkey deflected the hit to Damandeep Singh, who moved quickly to push it past goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan.
The first goal had to be decided by the video umpire when there was some confusion whether Damandeep had cleanly taken the hit or if had been carried.
Soon after the goal was scored, Sultans earned their first penalty-corner of the match, but they failed to convert it.
Immediately the Steelers launched a surprise counter-attack. Dilip Tirkey sent a long shot to Adnan Zakir, who then passed the ball to Bruno Lugun, who made no mistake firing the ball home with a reverse flick.
The Sultans, who appeared to be playing under pressure, failed to convert all the three penalty corners that came their way.
In the first half, both teams lacked the sting in their attack and failed to build up any threatening attack.
The Steelers earned two back-to-back penalty corners just towards the end of the first half, but failed to convert them.
During the initial stage of the game, Argentina's 30-year-old veteran of 218 international games Mario Almada, playing for the Steelers, tried to fire one through by hitting an angular reverse flick but goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan blocked it well.