Dec 27: Defending champions Orissa Steelers finally recorded their first outright victory as they convincingly defeated Chennai Veerans 3-0 in the league match of the fourth Premier Hockey League played at the Sector-42 stadium here on Wednesday.
Veerans is currently at the bottom of the seven-team table suffering its third straight loss, while Orissa has five points from four matches. Maratha Warriors is topping the chart with seven points with closing in by Chandigarh Dynamos who is at second place with only a single point behind.
Hyderabad Sultans, Sher-e-Jalandhar and Bangalore Hi-Fliers share the third spot with Orissa Steelers on five points.
Steelers dominated the game right from the start and displayed some attacking hockey following countless raids from the middle in the very first quarter. Steelers went ahead in the in the 26th minute of second quarter.
Prabodh Tirkey pushed the ball to Eliazer Lakra just outside the circle. Eliazer got inside and unleashed a reverse hit from top of the circle and his feeble shot brushed past rival goalkeeper Sreejesh’s left glove before settling in the net.
Orrisa team gave no opportunity to Veerans to strike back into the match. 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. Xalxo was later declared man of the match.
Steelers scored two back-to-back goals in the space of as many minutes in the third quarter to seal the fate of the match.
In the 41st minute, Birendra Lakra shot from the edge of the circle towards goal but rival goalie Sreejesh blocked his attempt. Sunil Ekka made no mistake as he pounced on the rebound to make it 2-0.
A minute later, Orissa struck again making it 3-0. Roshan Minz sent a pass to Joga Singh on the goalline. Joga trapped the ball and sent a stunning shot into the net from zero angle completing the scoreline. Chennai custodian Sreejesh tried to pad it away but his attempt turned futile again as the ball deflected from his pads and entered the goal.