The stakes were high for Karnataka Lions, as they needed to win to secure a place in the semi-finals, in their last World Series Hockey league match which was against Chandigarh Comets at the Sector 42 stadium here on Thursday. The hosts however had other plans and dominated the proceedings to win with a comfortable 6-1 score.
Karnataka got off to a good start, keeping the Comets' forward line in check in the goalless first quarter, and taking the lead through Sandeep Singh's penalty corner conversion in the 25th minute. But Chandigarh dashed Karnataka's hopes as the host's blue-eyed boy Gurjinder Singh rose to the occasion, slotting four to help his side cruise to a 6-1 win. In the process, the drag flicker became the highest scorer of the tournament, overtaking Chennai Cheetahs' Imran Warsi (16).
Chandigarh made an unlikely defensive start and were pegged back by Sandeep's strike. Parity was restored eight minutes later through Gurjinder who converted a penalty corner delivered by Preetinder Singh. Ramandeep Singh made it 2-1 for the home side in the very next minute, after which Gurjinder took control of the proceedings.
The 18-year-old converted penalty corners in the 56th, 62nd and 67th minute to edge Karnataka out of the contest; Belsajar Horo scored a field goal in the 64th. Lions now have 21 points and a goal difference of -6, and have to wait for the results of Pune and Chennai. Chandigarh, on the other hand, have provisionally moved to the top of the table with 28 points against Sher-e-Punjab's 25 who have a game to spare.