For the first 35 minutes it looked like nothing much had changed for both Bangalore Lions and Hyderabad Sultans in their second PHL III clash here on Sunday. Both the teams had struggled in their opening match and were again unable to create any worthwhile attacks though the Lions established early midfield dominance and put some pressure on the rival citadel.
But once they got their act together in the second half, the Lions looked very dangerous and devoured the Sultans 3-0 at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium here breached the Sultans’ defence with ease. They controlled the second and though the Hyderabad team, spearheaded by Shakeel Abassi of Pakistan, tried to fight back, their players were too erratic to create many potent moves.
Pakistan captain Rehan Butt, Dutch Sander van der Weide and drag flicker Len Aiyappa scored for the Bangalore team. The Pakistani skipper, who combined well with Arjun Halappa, Hari Prasad and Tushar Khandekar in his first match for the Bangalore team, put the Lions ahead in the 49th minute by pushing home a rebound off a indirect penalty corner attempt as the Lions finally made their dominance pay. Though Hyderabad Sultans tried to fight back, they couldn’t stitch together constructive moves because of faulty transition from the midfield to forward line. Brothers Didar Singh and Sardara Singh were off colour while right half Nitin Kumar was erratic as he made a mess of some good moves.
Sander van der Weide consolidated the Lions’ lead in the fourth quarter when he slammed home a rasping drive off a move created by Arjun Halappa and forward Hari Prasad. Halappa passed the ball to Hari, who moved towards the back line and sent in a cross into the shooting circle. Nitin Kumar blocked it but the ball fell in the path of Sander who planted it past Devesh Chauhan from the top of the circle.
Aiyappa, who shared the responsibility of drag flicking on the eight short corners his team earned with youngster Gurpreet Singh, finally proved successful after having three of his attempts blocked. He planted a low flick to the left of Devesh Chauhan to make it a healthy 3-0 for the Bangalore Lions.
In fact the Lions could have scored at least four more goals but were thwarted by the defence or their own mistakes. In the last minute, Tushar Khandekar failed to tap the ball into an open goal.
The victory took Bangalore Lions to five points from two games. They had beaten Maratha Warriors 2-1 in extra time in their opening match. Hyderabad Sultans have yet to score a point, having lost both their matchesw convincingly.
Bangalore Lions 3 (Rehan Butt 49th min-pc; Sander van der Weide 55th min; Len Aiyappa 63rd min-pc) bt Hyderabad Sultans 0.