An inspired performance by the Delhi Waveriders saw them edge past title holders Jaypee Punjab Warriors with a 6-1 win, pushing them to the bottom of the table and further denting their dreams of playing the semi-final in front of their home crowd next weekend in Chandigarh.
Goals from Justin Reid-Ross (4’), Rupinder Pal Singh (17’), Mandeep Singh (38’) and Iain Lewers (44’) ensured they fetched the winner’s points for Delhi Waveriders as they climbed to the third spot in the Coal India Hockey India League.
Delhi Waveriders struck early when Mandeep Singh won them a PC in the 4th minute. Mark Knowles, who almost crashed into Mandeep while tackling, gave away the PC. Though Justin Reid-Ross didn’t convert in his first attempt, a video referral won them another PC as his flick was obstructed by defender Varun Kumar’s foot.
Reid-Ross made no mistake in firing the ball away to the post, leaving in-form keeper Tristan Clemons stunned. Going into the first break, Delhi Waveriders enjoyed a 1-0 lead.
The Delhi Waveriders continued their good nick into the second quarter, winning another PC in the 17th minute. This time it was India’s most experienced drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh attempting the flick and he was inch-perfect in sending the ball low and hard to the right corner, beating Clemons and taking their lead to a comfortable 2-0.
With only 17 seconds left for the half-time hooter, the home team won their first PC thanks to good stick work by young forward Armaan Qureshi. The opportunity was used to their advantage with Mark Gleghorne putting the ball past Vincent Vanasch at lightning speed to close the deficit to 1-2.
Junior World Cup hero Mandeep Singh starred in the third quarter for Delhi Waveriders, helping his team extend the lead to 4-1 with his 38th-minute field goal. It was brilliant work by Surender Kumar and Niklas Wellen, who beat the Jaypee Punjab Warriors’ defenders in the striking circle to find Parvinder Singh who selflessly assisted the ball to Mandeep who just had to tap the ball into the goal.
This was Mandeep Singh’s eighth goal this season. The visitors’ good run continued when they were awarded a penalty stroke in the 44th minute and Englishman Iain Lewers promptly put the ball past Clemons taking their lead to a formidable 6-1.
It was a herculean task for the home team to come back into the game in the final quarter as Delhi Waveriders’ defenders pushed hard to keep the lead. It didn’t help the home team’s cause when they messed up a PC opportunity in the 49th minute while attempting to convert it to a field goal. Jaypee Punjab Warriors conceded two PCs this quarter but an alert Jugraj denied Delhi Waveriders any further lead.
Mandeep Singh from Delhi Waveriders was awarded a prize money of Rs 50,000 for scoring the Coal India Goal of the Match from Ms. Shantilata Sahu, Director Personnel, Northern Coal Fields Ltd.
Harjeet Singh of Delhi Waveriders won the prize of Rs 25,000 for being the Hero Young Achiever of the Match from Mr. Balbir Singh Senior, Olympian.
The Airtel Most Entertaining Player of the Match was awarded to Mandeep Singh of Delhi Waveriders that came with a prize money of Rs 25,000 and was presented by Mr. J. Bagchi, Chief Manager Finance, Coal India Ltd.
Justin Reid-Ross of Delhi Waveriders was declared the Man of the Match and was awarded a prize money of Rs 50,000 by Mr. Inderjeet Vinayak, Senior Vice President Jaypee Cement.
On 18 February, Jaypee Punjab Warriors will take on Kalinga Lancers in Chandigarh at 1900 hrs.
Matches will be shown live on Star Sports 2 & HD 2 and Star Sports 3 & HD 3 and live streamed on Hotstar.com