Len Aiyappa steered Karnataka Lions campaign with a heroic hat-trick to floor fighting Chandigarh Comets 3-2 in the exciting second match of Day 7 of the Bridgestone World Series Hockey on Tuesday.
Veteran player Len summoned all years of experience to give his side its first victory in four matches at the picturesque KSHA stadium.
The Lions, lying low at the bottom of the points table after six exciting days of World Series Hockey, thus came alive to get counted in the Series in the days to come.
Chandigarh came out strongly in the second half to narrow down the lead to 2-3, but the Lions' defenders, Len and Zeeshan Ashraff, saw them off with girt and gumption.
World Cup player Bharat Chhikara came closely to be the game changer for his team, yet his brace of goals (37, 63 mins) and the numerous rallies he set for his mates, fell short of making it up fully.
Len first sent a stunner between the goalkeeper and a defender off the first penalty corner (9 min, 1-0), and ten minutes later dispatched a high ball into the top of roof to enhance the lead. The third goal off the third penalty corner was a perfect grounder that found home at the left end of the net (25 min) with a touch of deflection from the goalie.
The variation of Len was too much for the Comets to stomach. Young but erratic Comets never came out of the shock.