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World Series Hockey -- Shers maul the Cheetahs again


Sher-E-Punjab proved that they are the real kings of the jungle by mauling the Chennai Cheetahs for the second time running in a Super Sunday clash at of the Bridgestone Hockey Clash at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium in Chennai tonite.

The Jalandhar side won 4-2, their eighth win in the championship, to increase their lead at the top of the table to 25 points while the Cheetahs dropped valuable points on their home turf, their fifth overall defeat, and remain in fourth position with 16 points. The northerners had earlier won the first leg encounter by a commanding 5-2 margin

The goal scorers were Adam Sinclair and Imran Warsi for the hosts while Bikramjit Singh, Harpreet Singh, Deepak Thakur and Gagan Ajit Singh got onto the scoreboard for the visitors. Three of the six goals came from penalty corners.

Sinclair opened the account for the losers in the 7th minute with a brilliant on the run shot from the top of the D off a Vikram Pillay pass that capped a free flowing counter attack across the length of the pitch, initiated by left-back Brent Livermore from his lair.

Bikramjit equalized in the 13th minute and Harpreet Singh gave the Shers the lead by dragging their third PC high into the net past a slow moving Santosh Kumar in the 22nd minute. But Warsi brought the Cheetahs back into the game  in the 32nd minute with his 16th goal of the championship from his side’s only set piece before the change of ends.

Thakur, who was strongly policed today, however escaped his marker at the goalmouth to deflect Matthew Hotchkis’ tomahawked shot into the cage in the 43rd minute. He then set up Gagan to drive the final nail in the Chennai coffin in the 67th minute. Santosh Kumar brought off some terrific saves to keep the margin of defeat down.

Rajinder Singh’s wards today gave  glimpses of their past form which has taken them to the top of the table. They were sound in defence in which stand in skipper Harpal Singh had a great game, and kept the Cheetahs on a tight leash, allowing them to force only two PCs, denying them the luxury of bringing their Pakistani bazooka wielder into operation often.

The Shers were also enterprising in attack where they were well served by the hard running Mandeep Antil and Karamjit Singh who adequately compensated for the absence of Prabhjot Singh, rested today.

The Cheetahs did the early running and were rewarded with the early lead. But Jose Brasa’s boys then came up against a determined pride of Shers and could not enter the lions’ den at will, even though hard working attacking midfielder Vikram Pillay tried to pry it open up with his forays forward.

Warsi could have saved the day for the losers with three minutes left on the clock but Hotchkis deflected his powerful drag flick on the line for a long corner. The Cheetahs will need positive results in their remaining four games to make the cut.



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