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Steelers can't stop Lions
February 17, 2007 10:39 IST
Defending champion Bangalore Lions made a strong comeback to score a 4-3 victory over table toppers Orissa Steelers in the Premier Hockey League in Chandigarh on Friday.
Bangalore Lions played a methodical game and thwarted a stiff challenge from an equally impressive Orissa Steelers to bag three points from the crucial encounter at the Sector 42 Hockey stadium.
Lions fell in arrears twice but scored twice in the space of two minutes in the third quarter to take the lead.
Lions increased the lead to 4-2 early in the last quarter, but Orissa played with determination and pulled one back in the very next minute to remain in the fight till the end. However, Bangalore defended stubbornly and made sudden counters to walk away with full honours.
Bangalore Lions now have 12 points and move up to third place on the table after eight matches while Orissa still lead the table with 17 points after as many matches.
Orissa, who played three defenders and four forwards, displayed controlled aggression while showing good defence at the same time in the first quarter. Marking the rival forwards tightly, they used flanks to make the raids.
Earning their first penalty-corner from one of their attacks in the 10th minute, Orissa opened the account through skipper Dilip Tirkey, whose powerful hit deflected off Bangalore's Ignace Tirkey's stick and settled in the net.
Later both the teams fought a grim battle to control the midfield and fortunes fluctuated either way.
Sunil Ekka missed a sharp chance for Orissa in the 21st minute and Orissa custodian Salman Akbar made a brilliant save to stop Len Aiyappa's flick in the 23rd minute.