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Lion-hearted Len Aiyappa scored a hat-trick to help Karnataka Lions floor a fighting Chandigarh Comets 3-2 on Day 7 of the World Series Hockey, in Bangalore, on Tuesday.
The former India player summoned all his years of experience to give Karnataka their first victory in four matches.
Chandigarh came out strongly in the second half to narrow down the lead to 2-3, but Lions' defenders, Len and Zeeshan Ashraff, thwarted them.
World Cup player Bharat Chhikara was the star player for Chandigarh, scoring twice, in the 37th and 63rd minute, but his team fell short.
Len scored all the three goals from penalty-corners.
He first sent a stunner between the goalkeeper and defender off the first penalty-corner, in the ninth minute, and ten minutes later dispatched a high ball to the top of the roof to enhance the lead.
The third goal, off the team's third penalty-corner, was a perfect grounder that found the left end of the net in the 25th minute after a deflection from the goalkeeper.
Len's variations were too much for the visitors to stomach and they never recovered from the shock the star drag-flicker inflicted on them.
Karnataka coach Jude Felix played young Jagdeep Dayal in goal in place of Devesh Chauhan, who played in the previous three outings. With timely rushes to the top of circle when confronted with solo attempts, and kicking of couple of lethal hits of Kabbar Singh from the goalline, Dayal kept his intact in the initial phase.
Ravi Pal and Dhanraj Pillay also had a good outing, dictating the rhythm and controlling moves that checked Chandigarh whenever they tried to apply pressure.
With a strong defence, Karnataka did not allow the usually unstoppable Rehan Butt any elbow room either.
Fearsome forward Bharat Chhikara set up many goal moves, and then struck one from top of the circle late in the last quarter to keep his team in the contest. The otherwise error prone Ramandeep Singh had struck from a reverse shot to score the first goal for Chandigarh.
Chandigarh played their best in the third and fourth quarter when they scored two goals but could not find that elusive goal to level the match.
Mumbai Marines notched a 4-2 victory over hosts Chennai Cheetahs to put their campaign back on track.
The Mumbai team dominated the proceedings for most part of the match, scoring through Devinder Walmiki (12th minute), Anup Anthony (24th), Ajmer Singh (48th) and Bimal Lakra (52nd).
The Cheetahs scored through Imran Warsi (4th) and Sunil Yadav (68th).
Playing their third match in four days, the Cheetahs looked tired and jaded after arriving in Chennai from Delhi on Tuesday morning, while Mumbai registered their second win in four matches.
The Cheetahs' Brent Livermore and Adam Sinclair worked in tandem, but their efforts were thwarted inside the Mumbai circle.
After the bitter disappointment of a heavy defeat against Chandigarh Comets (2-5) last weekend, Mumbai got their moorings in a slow-paced match.