The Punjab Warriors hosted the unbeaten and relentless Delhi WaveRiders at their home-ground in Jalandhar for the third and final round robin match between the teams, but were once again unable to alter the result of the previous two meetings between the two teams.
The WaveRiders started on a positive note and went on the attacking mode right from the moment the referee blew his whistle for the match to start, and were rewarded with a penalty corner in the seventh minute. India’s new found penalty-corner specialist Rupinder Pal Singh made no mistake and slotted the ball home for the WaveRiders’ first goal of the match after hitting a strong fierce shot towards the centre of the goal, which even after taking a deflection was unstoppable. The Delhi team however did not stop at this and kept pushing, with winger Danish Mujtaba regularly beating his markers and creating all sorts of problems in the middle for the Punjab defence. This bore fruit when in the eleventh minute he met a long ball by Tim Jenniskens and passed onto an unmarked Oscar Deecke in the box, who blasted it past everybody for Delhi’s second of the night.
The Punjab team looked sloppy and slow in the midfield until this point and needed to step up their game if they were to stop Delhi running riot. That was exactly what they did when captain Jamie Dwyer passed the ball to Dharamveer Singh on the right of the penalty box, who hit a beautifully executed shot into the net from a very tight angle to keep the Warriors in the tie and give the home crowd something to cheer about. The quarter ended with the same excitement with which it had begun, with the home fans expectant of a result from their team.
The second half saw Lloyd Norris-Jones regularly running through the Punjab defence, and seven minutes into the quarter, his one such move found Oscar Deecke alone to the left of the field, who then produced one of the best goals of the tournament. Getting the ball, Deecke circled around his marker, beating him in the process and then struck a stunning reverse hit shot which rocketed of the stick into the goal for Delhi’s third. The German took a while settling in but has looked increasingly threatening in the last few games. The WaveRiders were now in control of the match but were still hungry for more, with Norris Jones wanting to add his name to the score-sheet.
The third quarter remained largely action-less, as Delhi were happy to just keep the ball and frustrate the Warriors. There were chances few and far between, although a silly error from Tirkey gifted the WaveRiders a penalty corner in the dying minutes of the quarter. Once again, Rupinder stepped up to take it and hit a good low shot towards the right of the keeper, but Bharat Chettri was equal to the task and produced a fine save to end the quarter goal-less, with the Warriors still trailing.
The fourth and final quarter finally saw the Warriors spring to life, and they attacked the Delhi goal with all their might, with Jamie Dwyer and Mark Knowles both missing easy scoring opportunities to peg one back, although they finally got one back when Ciriello Christopher converted a penalty corner for the Warriors. However, it was too little, too late, as the WaveRiders hung on for yet another victory, their third in as many games over Punjab.
Final Score : Delhi(Rupinder,Deecke,Deecke) 3-2 Punjab (Dharamveer,Ciriello)
Goal of the Match : Oscar Deecke(Delhi)
Man of the match : Rupinder Pal Singh(Delhi)