The home crowd had plenty of reasons to celebrate as favourites Sher-E-Punjab launched their campaign in the World Series Hockey (WSH) in style, winning 5-2 win against Chennai Cheetahs here Thursday.
The scoreline didn’t really do justice to the close tussle which took place on the field here at the Surjeet Singh Hockey Stadium.
For Sher-E-Punjab, the scorers were Mandeep Antil (7th minute), Harpreet Nagra (34th minute), Prabhjot Singh (49th & 70th minutes) and Gagan Ajit Singh (57th minute) while Pakistani star Imran Warsi struck a brace for the Cheetahs, both his goals coming off drag-flicks in the 24th and 63 minute respectively.
For the last 46 minutes, the Chennai Cheetahs forwards and midfield twisted and turned with the ball only to find themselves confronted by an impenetrable thicket of blue-shirted Sher-E-Punjab defenders.
During that time the Shers extended their scoreline to 4-1 after taking an early lead with a suave Mandeep Antil goal that seemed to preface a night of dominance. Skipper Prabhjot’s talent as a dribbler and a provocateur proved decisive in giving his side the handsome win.
Chennai had two clear chances to make a comeback in the first half but they conceded a penalty stroke with one minutes remaining for the interval.
Sher-E-Punjab star Deepak Thakur was obstructed from taking a clear shot at the goal and the umpire had no hesitation to point towards the dreaded spot. Harpreet Nagra made his entry into the record book by converting the first penalty stroke of the WSH.
For Chennai, there were no such clear-cut openings in the second half despite their strategy to deploy five players in the rival D.
Striker Gagan Ajit Singh celebrated his daughter’s fourth birthday with a cracker – it was a trademark Gagan scorcher from top of the D, which went racing past the hapless Cheetah goalkeeper Jasbir Singh.
Interestingly, the moment the ball reached Gagan, the spectators started applauding in anticipation of a thundering shot for goal number four.