Jalandhar: The home crowd had plenty of reasons to celebrate as favourites Sher-E-Punjab launched their campaign in the World Series Hockey (WSH) with a convincing 5-2 win over Chennai Cheetahs. However, the scoreline does not reflect the close tussle which took place on the field at the Surjeet Singh Hockey Stadium.
For Sher-E-Punjab, the scorers were Mandeep Antil (7th minute), Harpreet Nagra (34th minute), Prabhjot Singh (49th and 70th minutes) and Gagan Ajit Singh (57th minute) while Pakistani star Imran Warsi struck a brace for the Cheetahs. Both of his goals came off drag-flicks in the 24th and 63 minute respectively.
The Chennai Cheetahs forwards and midfield strived hard as the match progressed but their efforts did not bear fruit due to the solid defence of the opponents.
Punjab soon extended their scoreline to 4-1 after taking an early lead with Mandeep Antil's goal that seemed to preface a night of dominance and skipper Prabhjot Singh's talent as a dribbler proved decisive in giving his side the handsome win.
Chennai had two clear chances to make a comeback in the first 35 minutes but they conceded a penalty stroke with one minute remaining for the interval. Sher-e-Punjab star Deepak Thakur was obstructed from taking a clear shot at the goal and the umpire had no hesitation to point towards the dreaded spot.
Harpreet Nagra converted the first penalty stroke of the WSH.
For Chennai there were no such clear-cut openings despite their strategy to deploy five players in the rival's striking circle.