Haryana Steelers’ Corners were at the centre of attention in the team’s first home game as they defeated Gujarat Fortunegiants 32-25 at the Motilal Nehru School of Sports, Rai in Sonepat on Friday. Leading the side for the first time this season, Monu Goyat scored 7 raid points and was his team’s most successful raider on the night.
Sachin started off proceedings for Gujarat Fortunegiants and almost returned successfully, but the Haryana Steelers’ defence managed to pull him back just short of the half-way line. Having sent him back, Haryana Steelers gave Gujarat Fortunegiants no further chances and went on the offensive through captain Monu Goyat and Naveen to send the entire Gujarat Fortunegiants side back in the 4th minute to take a 9-1 lead.
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Kuldeep Singh led Haryana Steelers’ defence and picked up his High 5 by sending K. Prapanjan packing in the 12th minute. Sachin managed to keep Gujarat Fortunegiants in the match with some smart raiding and an impressive thigh hold on Vikash Khandola but Sunil Kumar was the only other defender to get any success, which gave Goyat and Naveen the opportunity to maintain Haryana Steelers’ hold on the match.
Both the raiders had just one unsuccessful raid each to their name in the first half and managed 10 points between them. At halftime, Gujarat Fortunegiants trailed Haryana Steelers 13-20.
Prapanjan leads a fightback
Prapanjan got Gujarat Fortunegiants off to a good start in the second half, succeeding in two straight raids and bringing the difference down to 5 points. Sachin and Sunil Kumar, too, continued to impress in defence. Kumar even reached his High 5 in the 9th minute of the half. But Haryana Steelers kept striking back and maintained their lead over Gujarat Fortunegiants.
Once Sachin was sent back, Gujarat Fortunegiants played on the Do-or-die raids. But the slower pace of the game worked in favour of Haryana Steelers as Kuldeep Singh, Sunil and Sachin Shingade kept picking up Gujarat Fortunegiants’ raiders at regular intervals. Young Naveen impressed in his first game for Haryana Steelers, getting tackled just twice in his 11 raids and finishing the game with 6 points.
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In the end, Haryana Steelers were just too good on the day and they won the game by a 7 point margin. K. Prapanjan missed out on a Super 10 by a single point while Sachin returned 8 points from the game.