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Lugano maul Lions in their own den

Lugano players celebrate their second goal against the Lions

(Keystone)

The ice hockey players of Lugano have taken a major step towards the Swiss league title, beating arch-rivals the Zurich Lions 4-0 in the Lions' own stadium. The result gives Lugano a crucial 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven final series.

After scoring all four goals in Lugano's previous 4-0 victory on Thursday, forward Philippe Bozon picked up on Saturday where he left off. The Frenchman fired the Ticinese side ahead in the 13th minute, following a smart layoff from Regis Fuchs.

Both sides seemed set on playing a more open style than in their opening three matches, but as the Lions sought to equalise in the second period, Lugano delivered the killer punches.

Olivier Keller increased the visitors lead in the 33rd minute, although his goal owed to a lot to good fortune. As he stepped onto the ice, Keller was lucky to find the puck already at his feet. Reacting quickly, he raced up the rink before slipping the puck past Ari Sulander in the Zurich goal.

The Lions had very little time to react. Just over a minute later Geoffrey Vauclair pounced on a sloppy shot from the Zurich defence, sweeping in Lugano's third goal of the night. Then, with just a minute remaining of the second period, Bozon sprang up again, sending a long-range effort past Sulander to complete a wretched night for the defending champions.

Zurich must now secure an away win in Lugano's Resega stadium on Tuesday if they're to have any chance of retaining their title.

Following the match, around 100 Zurich Lions fans went on the rampage, throwing stones at police, who responded by firing water cannon at them. Three people were wounded, and seven were arrested and taken into police custody.

by Mark Ledsom

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