A goal@10 minute, Comets pip Strykers in 4-3 thriller
- 3 goals in 7 minutes, Strykers launch blitzkreig
- 3 goals in 24 minutes, Comets’ composed comeback
- 4th goal struck with five seconds remaining on the clock
- Damandeep Singh (3rd min), Simrandeep Randhawa (6th min), Gurpreet Singh (7th min) score for Strykers
- Rehan Butt (13th min), Gurjinder Singh (35th min) score one each one while Sukhwinder ‘Gabbar’ Singh (37th & 70th mins) scores a brace, including the winning goal for Comets
Calm, collected Comets. Chandigarh-wallas would be proud. Chandigarh Comets Strykers spanked Pune Strykers in a great comeback to win 4-3 in their Bridgestone World Series Hockey match here on Monday. Comets unleashed the rear guard action with Pakistani star Rehan Butt tapping in from close range off the winner if the ‘goal-of-the match’ Sukhwinder ‘Gabbar’ Singh’s parallel pass, in respond to the Strykers’ blitzkrieg. The rest is history.
Canadian import Gabbar Singh struck the all-important winning goal off a penalty-stroke in the dying moment, which was a stark reminder of an error prone to most young hockey players in India. With this victory, Comets are now in second position with 15 points, four less than the table leaders, Sher-E-Punjab.
Pune strykers struck three goals in the first eight minutes to stun the home side and then the gritty Comets cancelled out the lead shortly after the lemon time. And then Sukhwinder Singh converted a stroke five second before the hooter in a scintillating match which is becoming a feature of Bridgestone WSH as it inches towards the final stage.
True to their team’s name, Pune Strykers went into the business of striking goals straightaway from the start. Strykers stunned the otherwise solid defence of Comets with meticulous but merciless strikes at the cage to go up by three goals to nil within first eight minutes for a dream start any team can ask for.
Captain Roshan Minz’s alacrity inside the circle led the Strykers to their first goal. The tribal star trapped a Mario Almada’s back pass, turned full before banging the ball diagonally into the other side of the net. Damandeep Singh doubly ensured the ball’s entry into the net with a gentle nudge.
Even before the Comets came to terms with this quick silver goal, Simranjeet Singh Randhawa, after Gurpreet Singh played a dummy in the first penalty corner, dispatched the ball to the right corner to enhance the lead. This sixth minute goal survived a hotly contested referral. Emboldened by the two goals, Stykers forwards increased the pace, opened up the flanks, entered the circle quite often. The panicky Comets defence stick-checked the well-positioned Damandeep Singh to give away a stroke, which was successfully converted by Gurpreet Singh.
Then, Sukhwinder Singh, Butt and Bharat Chhikara combined effectively with the colts to take control of the play, thereby staging one of the greatest comebacks of the tournament. Butt struck to reduce the margin, and shortly after Bharat Chhikara failed to connect a high ball that came to him after a Sukhwinder shot, Gurjinder Singh converted their first penalty corner to reduce the lead further, at the stroke of lemon time. Comets continued their aggression after the break, and got the dividend. Their man-in-form Sukhwinder Singh bounced on to a weak rebound off the goalie to can out the last lead.
At 3-3 in the 38th minute, both teams came out with their best to go up, each minute witnessing a shot at goal or an event of worth. Both sides waged a grim battle for supremacy thereafter. Almada shot wide his forehand as Comets survived a scare in the third quarter, and he was again the culprit failing to tap the ball in the 60th minute, unlike Butt’s earlier feat, though he was similarly positioned. A defender tackled the ball above shoulder on the brim of circle which led to a stroke in the last moments. The crowd at the Sector 42 Stadium broke into a thundering applause.
Schedule for March 20:
Chandigarh Comets vs Delhi Wizards at Sector 42 Hockey Stadium, Chandigarh at 7pm; Chennai Cheetahs vs Bhopal Badshahs at Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium, Chennai. Live on Neo Sports and Neo Cricket.