Bangalore Hi-Fliers outstroke Orissa Steelers

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Chandigarh, Dec 21 (UNI) Bangalore Hi-Fliers outstroked Orissa Steeliers 6-5 after sharing four goals in the regulation 70-minute session in the third match of the Premier Hockey League at the flood-lit Sector 42 Hockey Stadium here tonight.

After the 10-minute extra time for a silver goal failed to resolve the deadlock, shoot-out was ordered.

Tied three-all in the shoot-out, it was Sandeep Michael who got the better of defending champions Orissa Steelers goalkeeper Gurpreet to clinch the issue in favour of Bangalore Hi-Fliers.

With this loss the holders suffered a mild jolt in their campaign.

Other scorers for Bangalore Hi-Fliers in the shoot-out session were Vimal, Arjun Halappa and Vikramkanth. Tushar Khandekar muffed his chance for Bangalore Hi-Fliers. For Orissa Steelers, Prabodh Tirkey, Roshan Minz were the successful marksmen. Shakeel and William Xalxo wasted their opportunities.

In a well-contested encounter, Bangalore Hi-Fliers enjoyed a slight upper hand with more threatening forays in the first two quarters. Against the run of play, Orissa Steelers drew the first blood in the 25th minute. Making the best use of a defensive lapse, Eliazer Ekka wriggled out from Hi-Fliers' defender Len Aiyappa on top of the circle, turned around and sent in a blinder to beat Bharat Chetri guarding the Bangalore Hi-Fliers goal.

Down by a goal, Bangalore Hi-Fliers forced a penalty corner in the 41st minute. A defender took Len Aiyappa's drag flick on the body and another short corner was awarded. This time Len Aiyappa's flick screeched past the custodian into the net for the equaliser in the 42nd minute. At par the teams attacked with redoubled vigour and dished out good hockey to thrill crowd which was present in good attendance.

Orissa Steelers forged ahead again in the 58th minute by converting the third of their five penalty corners. Birender took the push and Ignace set the stage for William Xalxo, who sounded the boards with a direct hit.

With two minutes to go for the hooter, Bangalore forced their third and last short corner and once again drag flick specialist Len Aiyappa was bang on target, his flick kissing a defender's stick and settling in the net.

The 10-minute extra-time for the silver goal proved abortive and the game went into shoot-out. Ignace, Prabodh and Roshan Minz scored for Orissa and Vimal, Arjun Halappa and Vikramkanth found the target for Bangalore while Shakeel and Tushar missed from Orissa and Bangalore respectively.

William Xalxo's last ditch bid was saved by Bangalore goalkeeper Bharat Chetri and all eyes were on Bangalore's last man, Sandeep Michael. Sandeep darted in pulled the rival goalkeeper Gurpreet to the right and scooped over him to trigger celebrations in the Bangalore camp.

Bharat Chetri of Bangalore Hi-Fliers was declared the man of the match.

UNI

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