World Series Hockey: Slender win for LionsMarch 7th, 2012 - 12:41 am ICT by IANS
Bangalore, March 6 (IANS) Karnataka Lions, courtesy three first-half penalty corner conversions by Len Aiyappa, defeated Chandigarh Comets 3-2 for their first win in four matches of the Bridgestone World Series Hockey tournament here Tuesday.
Aiyappa flicked home in the 12th, 20th and 27th minutes before the Comets bounced back with two goals in the second half through Ramandeep Singh (38th) and Bharat Chhikkara (63rd), but wasted a couple of chances in the dying minutes when the Lions were in a disarray.
The match itself did not dish out quality fare, but the closeness of the contest provided some thrills for the modest gathering.
It was their third defeat in four matches for the Comets while the Lions finally opened their account in the month-long league that must be a huge relief for coach and former India captain Jude Felix who has to not only contend with missing India stars but also injuries to two key players, Arjun Halappa and Amar Aiyamma.
The Lions, after the inspired first-half display, failed to sustain the momentum and allowed the Comets to burn bright and it was just good luck that saw the home team through at the finish.
Chandigarh did well to keep their composure after Aiyappa fired in the three penalty corners in the first half and attacked strongly on resumption to put the home team under tremendous pressure.
A reverse hit by Ramandeep following a fast break on the right wing soon after change of ends put Chandigarh in good heart. The Comets persisted with their attacking game, but muffed a series of scoring opportunities until Chhikkara found the back of the net with a stinging shot from the top of the circle minutes from close.
In the final moments, the Lions survived a couple of penalty corners that they hotly disputed as the Comets made too much haste in taking the set-pieces and paid the penalty.
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Tags: back of the net, bharat, bridgestone, chandigarh, closeness, comets, composure, corner conversions, disarray, fast break, good heart, haste, hockey tournament, karnataka, lions, penalty corners, ramandeep singh, resumption, third defeat, world series