Chandigarh, Dec 31 (UNI) Riding on drag-flick specialist Sandeep Singh's brilliant hat-trick, Chandigarh Dynamos rallied thrice to push their match against Chennai Veerans into extra-time and won the match by a silver goal to finish as joint-leaders in the fourth edition of the Premier Hockey League (PHL) here today.
Sandeep Singh was declared the man of the match.
Chennai Veerans may have lost all the matches, but today they gave a fabulous display of attacking and strategic hockey that provided exciting moments for the huge crowd that turned up on the New Year's eve.
Chandigarh Dynamos were taken aback by the new-found energy of their rivals as they huffed and puffed to remain in the match and thanks to Sandeep Singh, their drag-flick specialist, who converted three of the five short corners they earned and stretched the match into extra-time for silver goal.
In the 76th minute, a move initiated by Gazanfar Ali in the midfield saw SS Gill put Deepak Thakur in possession in the circle.
Deepak took a shot from the right of the circle but Chennai goalie Sreejesh blocked it. The rebound went to Ravipal Singh at the top of the circle and the latter sent a fierce reverse-stick shot to slot the match-winning silver goal.
Earlier, Chennai hoisted the lead in the 15th minute through a brilliant field goal which showcased the speed and skill of Chennai skipper Adam Sinclair. Following a speedy run on the right flank, Adam took two defenders in his stride before he gave a short through pass to Mahendra Singh in the corner and raced into the goalmouth.
Mahendra moved down on the goal line and from a zero angle he scooped the ball into goalmouth as Adam Sinclair lunged forward to tap the ball home before Dynamos custodian Swinder Singh could reach it making it 1-0.
Dynamos came back early in the second quarter to restore parity earning the first of their five short corners and drag-flick specialist Sandeep Singh was bang on target scoring a waist-high goal to the left of Chennai goalkeeper Sreejesh (1-1).
But Chennai displayed determination and with the midfield controlling the game, the forwards played cohesive hockey and they created chances in the rival defence.
In the 34 th minute, they shot ahead once again with their forwards Raja and Suresh working like a well-oiled machine. The move culminated with Adam Sinclair sending a measured shot to make it 2-1 in favour of Chennai Veerans.
However, Chandigarh Dynamos drew level once again in the 44th minute with Sandeep Singh in the thick of action. From the second short corner, Sandeep flick hit a defender and they earned another set-piece drill and this time Sandeep Singh used power and guile to send the ball into the top left corner of the net.
Thereafter, Chennai continued to apply pressure and earned three short corners in the space four minutes. Chennai's short corner expert Raghunath failed from the first two attempts with the push being slow. But struck from the third of the five penalty corners they earned today, sending a power-packed drag flick to the roof of the net that gave no chance to the rival goalkeeper (3-2).
Chandigarh Dynamos however equalized once again and kept themselves in the race earning the fifth and last of their short corners and Sandeep Singh was once again among the goals, scoring the first hat-trick of the fourth edition. His low flick lacked the power but was deceptive enough to hit the boards to the goalkeeper's left.