Chandigarh, Dec 30 (UNI) Playing before their home crowd, Chandigarh Dynamos joined Bangalore Hi-Fliers in the semi-finals by eking out a narrow 1-0 victory over Maratha Warriors in the 16th match of the Premier Hockey League being played at the Sector 42 Hockey Stadium here today.
The all-important goal was scored by Sher Singh in the 26th minute which gave the Dynamos three points.
Lying at the second position with 12 points, Chandigarh Dynamos have a chance to top the seven-team league table as they meet bottom-placed Chennai Veerans in their last league fixture.
An outright victory against Chennai will elevate them to the top position with 15 points, one more than Bangalore Hi-Fliers who completed their league programme by defeating Sher-e-Jalandhar 2-1 in the 15th match today.
After today's matches, Bangalore Hi-Fliers were leading with 14 points. Defending champions Orissa Steelers (8 pts) and Maratha Warriros (7) are the other teams which will fill the remaining two semi-final slots. Shers and Hyderabad Sultans have an identical tally of five points. Chennai Veerans, who have lost all the matches they have played so far, are at the bottom of the table.
Commenting on his boys performance in today's match, coach Narinder Singh Sodhi was obviously happy with the three points his team gained from today's fixture. However, he looked confident when he said, ''they are capable of playing much better game. I am sure that they would much more improved play in the next matches. It will be a different game in semi-finals where all teams would be equal and matching.'' The star-studded Chandigarh Dynamos and Maratha Warriors were evenly matched. Chandigarh Dynamos have the better forward line which included Olympians Prabhjot Singh and Deepak Thakur supported by captain Rajpal Singh, Ravi Pal Singh and Inderjit Chadha. Maratha Warriors are led by former Indian captain Viren Razquinha.
Vikram Pillay, Girish Pimpale, Shivender Singh, Rehan Butt of Pakistan and Bharat Chikara are the other star players in the team.
Maratha Warriors were awarded penalty corners (PC) in the 8th, 37th, 38th and 49th minutes. However, they failed to take advantage of these chances. Surprisingly, Chandigarh Dynamos could not force even a single PC. Sher Singh snatched the match-winner in the 26th minute as he connected a pass from his captain Rajpal Singh from the left flank.
Dynamos dominated the second half and initiated a number of moves but another goal eluded them. Rajpal Singh was adjudged the man of the match.