India discard Arjun Halappa led from the front in brilliant fashion, scoring a brace of goals and assisting in a third, as cellar outfit Karnataka Lions whipped Mumbai Marines 4-2 in a fast-paced World Series Hockey clash at the MHA-Mahindra Stadium in Mumbai on Friday night.
After Marines went ahead against the run of play through Joga Singh in the sixth minute, it was the Lions who ruled the roost, as they pumped in three goals in the second quarter, the first two in a five-minute burst of opportunism by Halappa, who also did the spadework for the third, scored by Naveen Kumar, in the 32nd minute.
Leading 3-1 at the half-way stage, the Lions increased the lead to 4-1, when Len Aiyappa made no mistake with his penalty-corner drag off the first set-piece award they got in the 44th minute.
The Marines reduced the margin seven minutes from the end through a field goal by Bimal Lakra, but their repeated forays at the end proved futile as Lions defended stoutly.
The defeat was the fourth in eight matches for the off-colour Marines, and their third at home. It kept their points tally to ten and saw them slip down a rung to seventh.
In Jalandhar, former India star Deepak Thakur scored a hat-trick as Sher-E-Punjab notched a 5-2 victory over Chandigarh Comets.
The Punjab outfit dominated the proceedings for most part of the match, scoring through Thakur (25th, 57th and 60th minute), V S Vinay (31st) and Harpreet Singh (35th).
Comets scored through Sher Singh (56th minute) and Robert Green (70th).