Hyderabad Sultans kept their semi-final chances alive with a 5-3 victory over Chennai Veerans in the fourth edition of the Premier Hockey League at the Sector 42 Hockey Stadium in Chandigarh on Tuesday.
The Sultans took an early 3-0 lead but Veerans pulled back two goals through drag-flick expert Raghunath to claw back into the match.
But Sultans added two more goals to seal the contest. Chennai Veerans finished their league engagements with the wooden spoon and will be relegated from the Premier Division.
Sultans took the lead in the fifth minute with Bikas Toppo capping a fine move after an attempt by Didar Singh was foiled.
Within two minutes, Sultans earned the first of their three penalty corners and drag-flicker Diwakar Ram made it 2-0.
Sardara Singh was in the thick of action for Hyderabad Sultans deflecting home their third goal off a stinging shot into the goalmouth by their Pakistani import Adnan Maqsood in the 14th minute.
The Veerans put up a determined fight and their forwards Adam Sinclair, Mahendra Singh and Sanawar Ali made repeated raids into the rival defence.
They earned two short corners in the 15th and 16th minutes and off the second, the effort by Raghunath rolled in after hitting defender Johnson Ekka's stick on the goal-line. (3-1).
Six minutes later, Veerans earned the fourth of their five penalty corners and Raghunath was bang on target once again scoring to the right of the goalkeeper.
However, Hyderabad continued to play their attacking game and put paid to Veerans' hopes with two goals in the space of five minutes.
Diwakar Ram came good with the team's second short corner in the 39th minute sending his drag-flick into the boards. (4-2).
In the 44th minute, Sardara too notched his second of the match with a gem of a field goal.
He went on a solo run feinting past two defenders and cut into the circle from the right. Chennai custodian Sreejesh rushed at him as Sardara pulled the ball to his right with a swift body dodge.
The ball was rolling towards the backline but Sardara dived and slapped the ball into the goal from an acute angle. (5-2).
Chennai pulled one back in the 64th minute but it was too little too late.
Adam Sinclair entered the circle and, with the rival goalie rushing out, passed to their Dutch import Joost van Den who scooped into the empty goal.
Sardara Singh was declared Man of the Match.