Chandigarh, Dec 26 (UNI) Playing an all out attacking game, defending champions Orissa Steelers overpowered Chennai Veerans 3-0 to record their first outright win in the fourth edition of the Pemier Hockey League here today.
Putting behind their lackluster showing in the last three matches, Orissa Steelers played to a plan right from the start with Roshan Minz, Ignace Tirkey, Sunil Ekka and Damandeep Singh combining well in the attack.
They took control of the midfield with Birendra Lakra and Prabodh Tirkey controlling the rival attacks. William Xalxo excelled in the defence with good anticipation and clean tackling. In fact, Chennai Veerans hardly had any circle penetrations and they failed to get bearings right in the midfield.
In the second quarter, Orissa exerted continuous pressure on the rival goal. Roshan had a try at the goal and then Shakeel Abbasi tried to deflect a long ball from Dilip Tirkey, but missed narrowly.
The sustained pressure yielded result as they took the lead in the 26th minute.
Following a raid from the middle, Prabodh Tirkey put Eliazer Lakra in possession near the circle. Eliazer stepped inside and effected a reverse hit from top of the circle and the weak shot kissed rival goalkeeper Sreejesh's left glove before settling in the net. (1-0) Chennai forward Adam Sinclair was off colour and Raja failed to get any support from his teammates. There were no cohesive moves from the midfield and their defence was forced to work extra time.
Even midfielders Somanna and Vikramjit Singh fell back repeatedly to assist the defence.
Two goals in the space of as many minutes in the third quarter took the sting out of the match. In the 41st minute, a move from the right saw Birendra Lakra get the ball in the middle. He darted down and took a shot from the edge of the circle but rival goalie Sreejesh blocked his attempt. Sunil Ekka pounced on the rebound and just tapped in to make it 2-0.
In the very next minute, Orissa struck again making it 3-0.
Roshan Minz sent a pass from the top of the circle to Joga Singh on the right goalline. Joga received the ball and sent a stinging shot into the goal from zero angle. Chennai custodian Sreejesh tried to pad it away but the ball deflected from his pads and entered the goal.
William Xalxo was declared man of the match.
This was Chennai's third straight loss and they are now at the bottom of the seven-team table while Orissa have five points from four matches. Warriors are leading the table with 7 points with Chandigarh Dynamos in the second place with 6.
Hyderabad Sultans, Sher-e-Jallandhar and Bangalore Hi-Fliers now share the third spot with Orissa Steelers with five points each.