Mumbai Marines survived many anxious moments before emerging victorious over determined Karnataka in a crucial Bridgestone World Series Hockey encounter in Bengaluru on Thursday.
Age hadn't withered any venom that Len Aiyappa packs in his penalty corner shot. He again established this truism before the home crowd on the KSHA stadium but was lethargic in two other chances.
Len again pepped up the Lions morale with an early goal in the dying moments of first quarter (1-0) only to see the Marines struck two late goals to emerge worthy winners. Devinder Walmiki emulated Len in the 42nd minute to equalize and then the up and coming Joga Singh sent in a close range forehand to post what turned out to be the match winner (57 min, 2-1) in a spectacle of a match. Len and ultimate Man of the Match Devinder struck in similar fashion lightening drag flick that hits the right inside netting.
Marines' midfield of Viren Rasquinha, Prabodh Tirkey and Bimal Lakra sparkled throughout the match. The trio kept in check the likes of Jarnail Singh and Ravi Pal Singh who time and again troubled the defence.
In the dying moments of the third quarter, after Lions survived a penalty corner, Marines' captain-goalie Adrian D'Souza summoned all his expertise to jump and clear a ferocious shot of Jarnail Singh.
Ajmir made a goaline line save in the 65th minute in a melee and then a minute later Arjun Antil mis-timed his reverse shot that missed the cage by a whisker.