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Last-minute goal gives Maratha Warriors victory
March 02, 2007 00:09 IST
A goal in the final minute by Pakistan's Imran Warsi helped Maratha Warriors defeat Chennai Veerans 3-2 and finish fourth in the Premier Hockey League in Chandigarh on Thursday night.
Warsi scored from a penalty-corner to secure the points in the last match for both teams in the two-month tournament.
Veerans, who trailed 0-2 at one stage, staged a tremendous fightback in the fourth quarter, scoring both their goals in the final 10 minutes of the match but had to return empty-handed.
Kuhan Sanmuganathan pulled one back for them from their sixth penalty-corner before Senthil Kumar levelled the scores.
However, Warriors did not lose their cool; they earned their fourth penalty-corner and Warsi did not falter under pressure.
Earlier, both teams failed to build any worthwhile attacks in the first quarter, but Warriors accelerated in the second and Hardeep Singh scored in the 21st minute, taking advantage of a lapse in the opponent's defence.
Shivender Singh went solo in the 30th minute dodging past several defenders to double the lead with a reverse hit from the edge of the post.
Kuhan was shown the yellow card by umpire Suresh Kumar when he, along with some of his teammates, strongly protested the second goal, claiming one of their players was down on the field after being hurt.
Warriors could have finished with a bigger victory margin, but video umpire Satender Sharma disallowed a goal by Gurbaj Singh, which he scored with a powerful reverse hit.
After going through video footage, the umpire ruled that the hit had been taken inches outside the striking circle.
Veerans got several opportunities to score, but failed to capitalise.
Suresh Kumar missed a golden chance but slipped and could not hit the ball into the empty goal after drawing the custodian out.
Led by captain Adam Sinclair, the Veerans launched successive attacks inside the Warriors circle, especially in the third and the fourth quarters, and got many penalty-corners as well, but failed to score.
The Warriors finished with 19 points, pushing Chandigarh Dynamos to fifth position while the Veerans, with 13 points, are sixth.
On Friday, table toppers Orissa Steelers play their first of the best-of-three finals against second placed Sher-e-Jalandhar.