What’s the story?
The Delhi Waveriders had a disappointing start to their home leg as they lost 3-2 in a thrilling encounter against the Jaypee Punjab Warriors at the Shivaji Stadium. The match was tied at two goals apiece as the teams went into the final quarter but a direct penalty corner converted by Mink van der Weerden with seven minutes to play made the difference.
Former Australia and current Punjab coach Barry Dancer spoke to the press after the match, stating that the match was a close shave for his side. “It was a very close match, as we have come to expect in this league. It was a matter of taking your opportunities and I’m happy we got the result we wanted,” he said.
He heaped praise on his team’s goalkeeper Tristan Clemons, who enjoyed a solid game and played an instrumental role in keeping the Delhi side at bay. He said that Clemons was the difference between the two sides on the day and as his side move to Chandigarh for their home leg, the Aussie is expecting to catch up to the top three sides on the league table.
The Delhi attack was led by Mandeep Singh, who throughout the game, was a constant menace and looked threatening every time he got the ball. About him, Dancer said, “He is a very, very good player and created a lot of pressure on our defence today. He is certainly one to watch out for in the coming years!”
In case you didn’t know...
The Punjab Warriors are the defending champions this season and before this match, they had won just one out of their three games. The Delhi Waveriders, meanwhile, stay winless at the bottom of the league table after this loss, having drawn one match and lost the remaining three.
The heart of the matter
After a tense start, the Punjab side took the lead as Robert van der Horst scored from the edge of the ‘D’ with a reverse shot. The Waveriders pushed for an equaliser and finally made the breakthrough in the third quarter after a smart piece of play from Tristan White.
Mandeep Singh, who was part of the Indian junior side that won the World Cup last year, looked extremely dangerous for Delhi, impressing with his direct running and dribbling. He earned his side two penalty corners out of their total of four, none of which were converted, unfortunately.
The Waveriders will take on the UP Warriors in their next match, which will be played on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Punjab Warriors will move to Chandigarh for the start of their home leg and will face the Ranchi Rays on Thursday.
The match was quite enjoyable, as both teams played some attacking and aggressive hockey. As far as Mandeep in concerned, his stock continues to rise after an astonishing 2016 and praise from such high quarters will give him a major confidence boost.