The action-packed Bridgestone World Series Hockey got even more exciting as Mumbai Marines beat fancied Karnataka Lions 2-1, to take the top position in the league here at the KSHA Stadium on Thursday.
Young guns Devinder Walmiki and Joga Singh helped the Marines to first level and then take the crucial lead against the host team. The Marines needed to survive many anxious moments before emerging victors in a closely contested match. Len Aiyappa put the home side in the lead with an early goal in the dying moments of first quarter (1-0), only to see the Marines struck two late goals to clinch full points. Devinder Walmiki emulated Aiyappa in the 42nd minute to equalize and then Joga Singh sent in a close range forehand to post the match winner (57th minute).
Aiyappa and ‘man-of-the-match’ Devinder struck in similar fashion – through powerful drag flicks that hit the right inside netting on the right. Aiyappa packed a lot of power in his penalty corner shot on this occasion, but .was lethargic in two other chances. Playing their fifth game, both teams needed an outright victory to stay afloat in the fiercely competed WSH. However, they missed several chances inside the D.
Marines’ midfield comprising Viren Rasquinha, Prabodh Tirkey and Bimal Lakra sparkled throughout the match. The trio kept a tight leash on the Lions forwards, Jarnail Singh and Ravi Pal Singh, who made several penetrating forays into their territory. On a couple of occasions, the mercurial star Dhanraj Pillay came up with his characteristic shots and gentle nudges to move the scoreboard, but was unlucky to miss the target. Pillay ran along the circle line before unleashing a reverse shot, but an alert goalkeeper Adrian D’Souza stretched his left leg to deflect the shot. This was arguably the best shot in the match that did not make the target.
In the dying moments of the third quarter, after Lions survived a penalty corner, captain and goalkeeper Adrian D’Souza cleared a ferocious shot of Jarnail Singh. Ajmer made a goaline save in the 65th minute during a goalmouth melee and then a minute later Arjun Antil mis-timed his reverse shot that missed the cage by a whisker.
Goal Scorer for Karnataka Lions:
Len Aiyappa 16′ (PC)
Goal Scorers for Mumbai Marines:
Devender Walmiki 45′ (PC)
Joga Singh 57′ (FG)
Credits: World Series Hockey