Pune Strykers had to thank their penalty corner expert Gurpreet Singh who notched up four goals, including two in the last quarter, for their come-from-behind victory over Mumbai who led 4-3 at the halfway stage of the match.
Apart from Gurpreet, the other goal scorers for Pune — who took a 3-1 lead in the first quarter before allowing Mumbai to come back — were Mario Almada, Lungile Tsolekile and Roshan Minz, who scored the last goal of the match.
For Mumbai, who lacked an effective penalty corner drag-flicker and who forced only five penalty corners as compared to their rivals’ 13, speedy front-liner Joga Singh scored thrice while Aljub Ekka and Troy Sutherland completed the tally.
Pune, for whom Vikas Pillay played a crucial role in the midfield in the first three quarters, went ahead very early in the match through a well-struck deflection into the far corner of the rival goal by Argentinian forward Almada.
Pune then forced two penalty corners in succession and their drag-flicker Gurpreet Singh scored off the second, with an effort to the left of Mumbai custodian Adrian D’Souza. The first quarter ended with Pune up 2-0.
Mumbai reduced the margin immediately after resumption in the second quarter through Australian Troy Sutherland. But Pune hit back within a minute to take a 3-1 lead through Gurpreet. Mumbai fought back through Joga Singh but as the match progressed, it was Pune who came storming back to notch up a fine win.
Sher-e-Punjab crush Chennai Cheetahs
In Jalandhar, the home crowd had plenty of reasons to celebrate as favourites Sher-e-Punjab crushed Chennai Cheetahs 5-2. Mandeep Antil (7th minute), Harpreet Nagra (34th), Prabhjot Singh (49th & 70th) and Gagan Ajit Singh (57th) scored for Sher-e-Punjab while Pakistani star Imran Warsi struck a brace for the Cheetahs with both his goals coming off drag-flicks (24th and 63rd minutes).
Mandeep got the hosts off to a fine start, slotting home within seven minutes before Warsi equalised for the Cheetahs in the second quarter. Harpreet then struck from the spot as Sher-e-Punjab led 2-1 at half-time. Former India star Gagan Ajit Singh then fired home a superb goal but Warsi pulled one back for Cheetahs. Prabhjot then wrapped it up for the hosts in the final minute.
Sher-E-Punjab beat Chennai Cheetahs 5-2
Pune Strykers beat Mumbai Marines 7-5
Today's Matches (March 2)
7.00 PM: Delhi Wizards vs Karnataka Lions (Delhi)
9.00 PM: Mumbai Marines vs Bhopal Badshahs (Mumbai)