Defending champions Orissa Steelers completed the semifinal line-up, handing out a 2-0 drubbing to Sher-e-Jalandhar in the last league match of the Premier Hockey League at the Sector 42 Stadium in Chandigarh on Thursday night.
Steelers, who needed a 2-0 margin to avoid table toppers Chandigarh Dynamos in the semifinal clash, will now meet Bangalore Lions while Hyderabad Sultans, who were pushed to the fourth spot on goal difference, will take on the local favourites Dynamos on Saturday.
With Shers' needing a victory with a four-goal margin, one expected them to play attacking hockey. They started on a fast pace, but it lasted only for a few minutes as they dished out dull and drab stuff thereafter.
Only Gagan Ajit Singh and Jarnail Singh were seen in the attack.
But they lacked support from the teammates and were not at their best as the midfield and forwards failed to feed the ball to Gagan.
Orissa, on the other hand, played to a plan and their defence stood like a rock with Dilip Tirkey and Kim Chul thwarting the rival moves.
William Xalxo assisted them well and the midfield played a crucial role both in the attack and the defence, where Birendra Lakra was prominent.
Orissa shot ahead through a stunning field goal by Ignace Tirkey. The peach of a goal came in the 22nd minute as Orissa began a move after a mispass by the Shers in the midfield.
Ajitesh Rai got possession and gave a short pass to Roshan Minz, who sent a quick through ball to Ignace on the left of the circle.
Ignace controlled the ball on the run and saw the rival goalkeeper Salman Akbar rushing towards him. In a jiffy, he entered the circle and cut the ball with a stinging reverse hit and the ball settled in the net.
Thereafter, Orissa controlled the pace of the game and went into a defensive mode with their midfield falling back to assist the defence. However, in the 44th minute, they got another chance when Jugraj Singh of Shers, who played in the midfield on Thursday, made a silly mistake.
He failed to trap a long ball from the rival defence by Dilip Tirkey and the ball crossed the sidelines near the corner, providing a hit-in for Orissa which yielded in a goal.
After the hit-in, Eliazer Lakra put Roshan Minz in possession from the left.
Roshan sent the ball to an unmarked Birendra Lakra, who took a crack at the goal and the ball kissed the pads of the rival custodian before entering the nets.
Later, all the Shers could do was earning two short-corners and both went abegging with Rupinder Pal and Kanwalpreet failing to find the mark.
Lakra was declared man of the match.