Jaypee Punjab Warriors beat Delhi Waveriders, through to finals of Hockey India League 2016
The Jaypee Punjab Warriors beat the Delhi Waveriders 3-1 in the first semi-final of the Hockey India League 2016, and have now made the finals of the event for the third year in a row.
The two had played each other twice before in this edition of the Hockey India League, with each team victorious on one occasion.
Having missed out on the title last year in a tiebreaker with the Ranchi Rays, the Sardar Singh-led Warriors have been in strong form this season, second in the table behind reigning champions Ranchi Rays. With the top 4 teams in the league standings qualifying for the semi-finals, the Warriors ensured a spot with solid performances from the beginning of the season.
Playing in Ranchi, neutral ground for both teams, it was the Delhi Waveriders who drew first blood.
Yuvraj Walmiki earned a penalty corner, and teammate Rupinder Pal Singh capitalized on it to score the first goal of the match in the form of that corner, which according to the revised rules at the 2016 Hockey India League, is worth one goal, while field goals count as 2.
The first quarter of the match ended with Delhi leading the tie 1-0.
Jaypee Punjab Warriors came back strongly in the second quarter, with Armaan Qureshi scoring a skillful field goal and giving his team a 2-1 lead. The team would hold on to that lead going into half-time.
The Delhi Waveriders managed to pull back possession in the second half, and dominated it over the Jaypee Punjab Warriors. Their efforts were not fruitful however, despite that and a number of circle penetrations. Both Surender Singh and Rupinder Pal Singh of the Waveriders created scoring opportunities for their team, but they were unable to capitalize on these successfully.
With 5 minutes to go in the final quarter, the Jaypee Punjab Warriors, leading 2-1, were awarded a penalty corner. Simon Orchard scored for his team to give Punjab a 3-1 lead, making matters tougher for Delhi.
Delhi were also awarded a last-minute penalty corner, and hoped to push it out of the D to score a field goal and equalise, but they were unable to do so.
Punjab goalkeeper Tristan Clemons successfully saved both the penalty corner and the rehit for a field goal, with the match ending 3-1 in favour of the Jaypee Punjab Warriors.
The Sardar Singh-led side will play either Ranchi Rays or Kalinga Lancers in the finals of the 2016 Hockey India League.