Ahead of their first home game in Chandigarh on 9th February, the Jaypee Punjab Warriors were eager to find their winning ways and they did exactly that with a splendid 3-2 win against the Delhi Waveriders who are yet to win a match in the fifth edition of Coal India Hockey India League.
Prior to the start of the game, played in front of a loud Delhi crowd, the defending Champions Captain Sardar Singh insisted on consistent performance and getting an early lead and they stuck to the plan. It was Robert van der Horst's 15th-minute goal that gave the defending champions the lead while a PC converted in the 53rd minute by Mink van der Weerden ensured they earned the winning points.
Though initially, in the first quarter, the home team did well in containing the defending Champions from making too many circle entries. They marked key players like SV Sunil who had converted two field goals in their win against Ranchi Rays but only with a minute left for the first hooter, Jaypee Punjab Warriors earned their first field goal thanks to the experienced Dutchman Robert van der Horst who made no mistake in putting the ball past Delhi Waveriders keeper Vincent Vanasch after a perfect assist by Satbir Singh.
This 15th-minute goal earned the visitors a 2-0 lead.
The Delhi Waveriders played an inspired second quarter, pushing for chances and they finally succeeded through Mandeep Singh when he helped earn a PC in the 27th minute. However, skipper Rupinder Pal Singh’s flick went straight to the keeper who padded it away rather easily. A second penalty corner came through in the 29th minute, again it was
Mandeep Singh who was in the thick of things. But a good defence from the visitors ensured Rupinder Pal Singh’s flick didn’t find the post. Coach Cedric D’Souza will not be a happy man with the number of chances his team has missed at converting PCs.
The third quarter saw the home team continue to chase that elusive goal and they finally found a breakthrough with Tristan White converting a field goal in the 39th minute to level the score 2-2. Interestingly, this was the Delhi Waveriders’ first successful field goal this season. The visitors, continued to be persistent, and bagged their first PC when SV Sunil’s strike within the circle found Harjeet Singh’s foot. But the chance was lost with an unsuccessful variation.
The final quarter saw some tense moments with both teams coming up with an improvised game. Delhi Waveriders were quick to earn their third PC of the game only minutes into the quarter, creating a perfect opportunity to take the lead, but Rupinder Pal Singh flicked it far too left from the net. However, the home team defenders did well in pressing the defending Champions high up the pitch denying them a chance at goal.
But the pressure caught on when a silly foul in the circle by Delhi Waveriders saw them gift a PC to the visitors and Jaypee Punjab Warriors’ Mink van der Weerden was inch-perfect in finding the net in the 53rd minute giving his team a 3-2 lead.
A PC, earned by forward Talwinder Singh for the home team, in the dying minutes of the match could have changed the result for the Delhi Waveriders but a poor attempt at converting this chance to a field goal was denied by the visiting team’s defenders.
Robert van der Horst of Jaypee Punjab Warriors was awarded with a prize money of Rs 50,000 for scoring the Coal India Goal of the Match from Shri B.K. Panda, Director (Personnel), BCCL, Coal India Ltd. Mandeep Singh of Delhi Waveriders won the prize of Rs 25,000 for being the Hero Young Achiever of the Match from Mr. Ajit Pal Singh, Olympian. The Airtel Most Entertaining Player of the Match was awarded to Satbir Singh of Jaypee Punjab Warriors that came with a prize money of Rs 25,000 and presented by Mr Martin Gotheridge, Chairman, Jury of Appeal, Coal India Hockey India League. Tristan Clemons of Jaypee Punjab Warriors was declared the Man of the Match and was awarded a prize money of Rs 50,000 by Mr Rajat Sethi, General Manager, The Grand, New Delhi. On 8 February, Delhi Waveriders will take on Uttar Pradesh Wizards in Shivaji Stadium, New Delhi, at 1900hrs. Matches will be shown live on Star Sports 2 & HD 2 and Star Sports 3 & HD 3 and live streamed on Hotstar.com