Defending champs, Steelers taste first victory in PHL

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Chandigarh, Dec 26 (UNI) After four encounters, defending champions Orissa Steelers finally recorded their first win as they thrashed lowly place Chennai Veerans by 3-0 in the 11th match of the Premier hockey League at the Sector 42 Hockey Stadium here today.

In their earlier outings, Steelers lost to Chandigarh Dynamos by 2-0 in regulation session while Bangalore Hi-Fliers 'outstroked' them by 6-5 and Hyderabad Sultans defeated them 4-3 in a tie-breaker.

A match extended to shoot-outs will award two points to the winners and one to the losers.

Orissa Steelers, led by former Indian captain Dilip Tirkey, now have five points while Chennai Veerans suffered their third successive defeat and are lying at the bottom in the seven-team league, without a point.

Steelers dominated the proceedings and forced three penalty corners in the 23rd, 29th and 37th minutes. However, they muffed all these chances to score. After frittering away their first penalty corner, Orissa Steelers forged ahead in the 26th minute through a field goal scored by Eliazar Lakra.

On resumption, Orissa Steelers struck two goals in quick succession. Sunil Ekka caught the Chennai Veerans on the wrong foot in the 41st minute. Maintaining their pressure, Steelers rounded off their tally in the next minute through Joga Singh.

Steelers defenders William Xalco was declared man of the match.

Tomorrow's fixture: Hyderabad Sultans vs Bangalore Hi-Fliers (1800 hours).

UNI

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