World Series Hockey -- Comets hit Lions for a six
Chandigarh Comets ended their campaign in the Bridgestone World Series Hockey league on a winning note, trouncing Karnataka Lions by a tennis score, 6-1, at the Sector 42 Stadium and also zoomed to the top of the table in the process.
The highly promising Gurjinder Singh did the star turn for the hosts with a fantastic foursome of penalty corner conversions to take his overall tally to 18, the same as Imran Warsi, and be in the running for top scorer of the tournament award. Hardworking Damandeep Singh and Belsajar Horo got the other goals for the winners. Replacement drag flicker Sandeep Singh had fired the visitors into a surprise lead earlier to spark a backlash that left them humiliated.
The Comets’ ninth win took them to 28 points, three ahead of Sher-E-Punjab, who have a game in hand tomorrow. The Lions remain in third place with 21 points after their seventh defeat in a match of academic interest as both sides had already sealed their places in the semi-finals earlier.
As a consequence, the encounter lacked intensity although the Comets picked up the pace after they went into arrears and enjoyed the major share of possession, circle penetrations and shots at goal. The thumping win will give their confidence a major boost ahead of their semi-final clash.
The ‘men in blue’ played at near full strength but the Lions, not looking seriously enough for their fourth consecutive victory, rested drag flick expert Len Aiyappa and defender Zeeshan Ashraf. Arjun Antil had the best chance in the goalless first quarter for the visitors when he burst into the Chandigarh circle with only goalkeeper Harjot Singh to beat but totally messed up his reverse hit attempt.
Young Sandeep Singh surprised everybody by making light of the absence of Aiyappa and gave the Lions their ‘Whooshka’ moment tonite, firing an unstoppable missile from their second penalty to help Jude Felix’s wards into a shock 25th minute lead.
However, Gurjinder Singh’s equalizer from a penalty corner in the 33rd minute brought the smile back on the face of a pensive Harendra Singh. He then added to his tally with strikes in the 54th, 61st and 67th minutes to hit the Lions for a six.