Ranchi: Delhi Waveriders booked a final clash with Ranchi Rhinos in the Hero Hockey India League by beating Jaypee Punjab Warriors 3-1 in the second semi-final at Birsa Munda Astroturf Hockey Stadium on Saturday.
Goals from Andres Mir Bel, Rupinder Pal Singh and Lloyd Norris-Jones were enough to put Waveriders, the group toppers of the league stage, in the final. Warriors would now play with Uttar Pradesh Wizards for the third place play-off.
The match was played a lot in the midfield for the first 10 minutes. There were not too many clear scoring opportunities in that period, but it all changed when Waveriders earned a penalty corner. Ignace Tirkey, under no pressure, failed to stop a regulation ball, which rose from his stick, and hit his body. In a surprise variation, Rupinder Pal Singh pretended to be tracking the drag flick, but actually just held the ball for Andres Mir Bel, who slotted home the strike, beating a charging Bharat Chetri to put Waveriders ahead.
Akashdeep Singh had a chance to increase Waveriders’ lead four minutes later. But his first shot was well saved by Jaap Stockmann, while the second, which came of the rebound, went wide.
It was another penalty corner, in the second quarter, that resulted in Waveriders going 2-0 ahead. This time, Rupinder himself took the drag flick, and his shot hit the rusher and went into the goal.
Warriors responded immediately, pulling one back in the next minute. Waveriders’ goalkeeper Jacobi kicked a ball that went to Jamie Dwyer. Dwyer got the ball in control, turned around, and smacked the ball into the goal from a difficult angle. Warriors focussed on building pressure in the third quarter, building up attacks slowly. None of those attempts really prove to be threatening.
On the other side, Andres Mir Bel’s hard hit was brilliantly directed by Danish Mujtaba, before Chetri jumped to make a brilliant save. Warriors substituted the two goalkeepers, Stockmann and Chetri, quite frequently.
Warriors’ best chance of the third quarter came in the last minute, when Hammond’s hard hit struck a Waveriders’ defender’s foot, earning Warriors a penalty corner. The penalty corner execution turned out to be a damp squib though, as Waveriders maintained their one-goal advantage going into the final quarter.
Warriors earned a penalty corner early in the fourth quarter, when Simon Orchard managed to put the ball on Oskar Deecke’s foot inside Waveriders’ circle. The drag flick, from Dwyer, struck rusher Norris-Jones’ foot, resulting in another penalty corner. The second one was well saved by the Waveriders’ defence, before Gurbaj Singh cleared it to safety.
Waveriders earned a penalty corner couple of minutes later, but Stockmann made a superb save from Rupinder’s drag flick.
Warriors then earned a hat-trick of penalty corners. First one was deliberately hit out behind the backline by a Waveriders’ defender, resulting into the second one. Second one hit a defender’s foot, while the third one was deflected wide by a Waveriders’ defender, keeping their lead intact.
And with four minutes to go for the final whistle, Waveriders put the game beyond Warriors. With Warriors pushing everyone forward, Waveriders caught them on the counter, Chandi passed the ball to Norris-Jones. Norris-Jones rounded a charging Chetri and slotted the ball in the empty net, which eventually sealed Waveriders’ place in the final.
There was great response to both the semi-finals, approximately 12,000 spectators watched the Semi-Final matches on electronic screen at Birsa Munda Football stadium, which is near the Astroturf Hockey Stadium.
Jaypee Punjab Warriors coach Barry Dancer said that the team failed to materialise the chances. “We couldn’t convert the penalty-corners in goals, which cost us the match. We failed to materialise chances of filed goals also,” Dancer told at the post-match press conference.
Delhi Waveriders 3 (Andres Mir Bel 14, Rupinder Pal Singh 32, Lloyd Norris-Jones 67) bt Jaypee Punjab Warriors 1 (Jamie Dwyer 33)
Hero Goal of the Day: Jamie Dwyer
Man-of-the-Match: Nicolas JacobiPublished 10 Feb 2013, 00:07 IST