Braving an early setback, Mumbai Marines came back from a goal down to maul Chennai Cheetahs 4-2 in the Bridgestone World Series Hockey on Tuesday. The Marines thus garnered their second win in four matches. The Marines proved that they are no longer pushovers in this tournament and denied Chennai their third victory in four matches.
Devinder Walmiki, Anup Anthony, Ajmir Singh and Bimal Lakra posted a goal apiece in the 10th, 30th, 40th and 53rd minutes. Imran Warsi and Sunil Yadav netted for the Cheetahs in the 3rd and 66th minutes, respectively.
The home side matched the Marines on every count, but couldn’t put away the penalty corners. While Mumbai converted three out of four penalty corners, the Cheetahs wasted four of them, striking only from the first and sixth.
Jaded in the frontline, sluggish in defence, the Cheetahs disappointed the hockey crazy Chennai crowd in what was their first home match in the Bridgestone World Series Hockey. On the other side, Ajmer Singh, Viren Rasquinha and Devinder Walmiki played a stellar role in controlling the pace of the game, breaking their rivals’ rhythm to ensure a memorable win for the Marines.
Viren in particular showed his class; the way he intercepted Imran Warsi’s penalty corner in the fourth quarter was a treat to watch.
Performances such as these paved for the Marines’ glory in Chennai.
It was the Cheetahs who began well though on the sprightly turf of Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium in Chennai. The home team worked on its strength –penalty corners – getting the in-form Imran Warsi into play in just the fourth minute.
Captain Brent Livermore cleverly manufactured a penalty corner quickly, and let the danger man do the rest. Imran’s delayed drag flick found the goal through the stretched legs of captain-goalkeeper Adrian D’Souza (4th min, 1-0).
Gangling youngster Devinder Walmiki — who had missed the previous match due to a nasty tackle on his stomach — returned to play today, and rescued the team from a tricky situation. Dashing and dodging, he put the Cheetahs defence under stress.
As a result, there was a wrong tackle which led German umpire Mark Knulle to award a penalty corner to the Marines, which Devinder promptly smashed home (10th min, 1-1). The goal changed the dynamics of the game and it was Marines all the way after that.
The Marines were relentless in offence post that, charging from the right flank. A goal looked imminent and it came through the stick of substitute Anup Anthony (24th min 2-1).
A forward took a shot at the cage, goalie Jasbir Singh dived to his left, and tackled only to yield a short rebound. Anup, who had just been brought on by coach Ashish Ballal a minute before, trapped the ball, and hit it hard into the goal for the all important lead.
Late in the second quarter, Knulle had to stop the game after spotting 12 Marines on the field of play. He had no option but to flash the yellow card at captain Adrian D’Souza, but as there was no reserve goalkeeper for the Marines, this was later changed to Shashi Toppo.
In the third quarter, played at a fast pace, the Marines further increased their lead. The alert and opportunistic Ajmer Singh deflected the ball home in an indirect penalty corner (40th min, 3-1) and then veteran Bimal Lakra showed his class, netting a set piece.
Chennai played a good fourth quarter, but the frontline did not measure up to the task. Local lad Veerasamy Raja in particular messed up two sitters, and Imran Warsi’s magic did not work beyond his 3rd minute strike.
The man of the match award went to Troy Sutherland from the Mumbai Marines.
Goal Scorers for Chennai Cheetahs:
Imran Warsi 4′ (PC)
Sunil Yadav 66′ (PC)
Goal Scorers for Mumbai Marines:
Devender Walmiki 12′ (PC)
Anup Anthony 25′ (FG)
Ajmer Singh 43′ (PC)
Bimal Lakra 52′ (PC)
Credits: World Series Hockey