WSH: Cheetahs rout Lions

March 18th, 2012 - 12:42 am ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, March 17 (IANS) Chennai Cheetahs helped themselves to a 4-1 win against Karnataka Lions to move into joint second place on the leaderboard in the World Series Hockey here Saturday.

Vikram Pillay (13th), Imran Warsi (31st), Adam Sinclair (43rd) and Shivamani (68th) scored for the Cheetahs while an opportunistic Vinayak Bijwad struck the lone goal for Lions in the 35th minute.

Cheetahs recorded their fourth win in nine matches and now are in joint second spot with Bhopal Badshahs but with more goals in the kitty, while the Lions slid to their sixth defeat and remain at the bottom of the league table with nine points.

Lions, playing their second game in as many days and in a desperate need to score more points, paid dearly for a weak defence that was rather ponderous. They lacked the zest and sharpness to trouble Cheetahs on a consistent basis.

On the other hand, the Cheetahs looked the better and fresher outfit while being determined to avenge their 3-5 loss at home a week back. Their attacks were far more organised though like their counterparts seemed far too intent on forcing penalty corners.

The first-half witnessed fairly even exchanges with Karnataka having better of the scoring chances. However, the home team’s weak defence was cruelly exposed as Chennai scored twice against the run of play.

A stray move led to penalty stroke as a Lions defender was struck on the foot by a goal-bound ball and Vikram Pillay converted with a neat flick high into the net in the 13th minute.

In the second quarter, Karnataka turned aggressive. Forwards Ravipal Singh and Malaysian import Mohd Radzi had their tries to goal saved.

About four minutes from the break, Chennai forced a penalty corner and Warsi was on target with a powerful drag-flick to give his team a 2-0 lead.

However, in a moment of inspiration, Karnataka counter-attacked forcing a penalty corner seconds from the half-time hooter, and it led to another from which an unmarked Bijwad lurking near the right post converted following a tardy attempt at the set-piece.

Crossing over, Chennai mounted pressure and Sinclair was well positioned to score after a fast break down the right. The Karnataka deep defence was caught flat-footed and it allowed Sinclair to put the ball home from near the penalty spot in the 43rd minute.

In the fourth quarter, Chennai were all over Karnataka and another right wing attack fetched them the fourth goal as Sinclair, again poorly marked inside the circle, reverse hit the predictable centre to the top of the boards. However, Karnataka disputed the goal that was turned down on referral for an infringement prior to Sinclair’s attempt.

Minutes from close, Shivamani made amends for the green card he took following a foul on Ravipal Singh by slotting home a Sinclair pass that left the home defence clueless.

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