Hyderabad Sultans vanquish Maratha Warriors

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/H/Hockeygen.jpg' class='caption'> Hyderabad Sultans vanquished title aspirants Maratha Warriors 2-1 in the Premier Hockey League tonight.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:47 IST
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In a high voltage match, hosts Hyderabad Sultans, bolstered by the presence of penalty corner specialist Sohail Abbas, vanquished title aspirants Maratha Warriors 2-1 in the Premier Hockey League tonight. Pakistani Wasim Ahmed put the hosts ahead in the first quarter while Mohammed Saqlain scored the equaliser, via penalty stroke, for the Warriors in the second quarter. Avtar Singh then scored the winner in the last quarter converting another penalty stroke to keep the Sultans' record clean who have now won both their matches. In the first match, they had scalped another title aspirant Sher-e-Jalandhar. Star of the day The star of the day was Pakistan's world record holder Abbas but he had little work to do as the hosts won without him getting on the score sheet. Sultans had better ball possession and often regrouped their defence well. They took the lead after Wasim came up with a long ranger catching the Maratha custodian Baljit Singh and three defenders at the goal mouth unawares as the ball sounded the boards. The Warriors stepped up their attacks but the first quarter yielded no result for them. Continuing their sallies and increasing their intensity Warriors took control as their forwards repeatedly forced their way towards the rival citadel. Penalty stroke They equalised when a penalty corner hit by Mohammad Saqlain was obstructed by the Hyderabad defenders and a stick flew off resulting in a penalty stroke. Saqlain made no mistake and scooped the ball with goalkeeper Ahmed Alam committed to guard his right bottom and the scores were level after 25 minutes. The third quarter went barren with no further damage though mercurial forward Dhanraj Pillay and the tightly boxed Kashif Jawad made some valiant efforts. The decisive goal came in the final quarter when Avtar Singh drove home a penalty stroke with a scoop over the shoulders of Maratha custodian Baljit Singh. Penalty corner expert Sohail Abbas was kept at bay by Maratha Warriors who had shown caution at the rivals 25 yard area. The action also saw Saqlain and Vikram Pillay of Hyderabad getting yellow cards while Ajitesh Rai of Sultans was shown yellow. (PTI)

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