Jaypee Punjab Warriors defeated defending champions Ranchi Rhinos 4-2 in their penultimate league match to consolidate their second position in the points table of league stage of the Hero Hockey India League (HHIL) 2014 at the newly-built hockey stadium in Mohali.
The win gave Jaypee Punjab Warriors five points and took their tally to 35 points from nine game.
Ranchi Rhinos suffered their fourth defeat in the tournament and continued to occupy the fourth position in the standings with 24 points from nine matches.
S V Sunil opened the scoring for Jaypee Punjab Warriors in the 17th minute of the match with a field strike that beat Rhinos goalie Sushant Tirkey all ens up.
The hosts continued to control the proceedings in the second quarter but the Ranchi Rhinos restored parity through Amit Rohidas who converted his side’s first penalty corner in the 23nd minute.
The equalizer seemed to have pumped Ranchi Rhinos as they surged ahead in the 29th minute through Justin Reid Ross, who scored from the visitor’s second set piece.
The Jaypee Punjab Warriors level the scores just a minute from half time when they were awarded a penalty stroke for Pradhan Somanna’s obstruction inside the circle, which was perfectly executed by captain Mark Knowles (34th minute).
The hosts earned their first penalty corner in the 49th minute but ace dragflicker Sandeep Singh’s flick was kept away by an alert Tirkey in Ranchi Rhinos goal.
Punjab Warriors secured two penalty corners in succession at the start of the fourth and final quarter but Jake Whetton’s first attempt was saved by Tirkey before Sandeep (55th minute) steeped forward to convert the next set piece to take a 3-2 lead.
Six minutes later, Australian Kieran Govers (61st minute) made the scoreline 4-2 in favour of Jaypee Punjab Warriorr by converting another penalty corner to seal the match in his side’s favour.
Jaypee Punjab Warriors and the Rhinos will face each other once again in Ranchi Rhinos on February 19 to round off their league campaign.
YES Bank Garv Award winner – SV Sunil
Man of the Match – Sandeep Singh
Hero Goal of the Match Award –SV Sunil
Speaking on today performance by the team Head Coach Barry Dancer, Jaypee Punjab Warriors said “A good quality match played by both the teams today. Ranchi Rhinos played extremely well in the last quarter of the match. Happy with the performance today but still feel there is scope for improvement. We got a few chances which could not be converted today. In our last match before the semi-finals we face Ranchi Rhinos again on their home turf and I hope we keep the winning momentum going”.