Waveriders, Rhinos enter final
Delhi drub Punjab Warriors 3-1, Ranchi outfit races past Wizards 4-2
Delhi Waveriders scored a clinical 3-1 win over Jaypee Punjab Warriors on Saturday to set up a title clash with Ranchi Rhinos in the inaugural Hockey India League, here.
The Delhi outfit rode on goals from Andres Mir Bel (14th minute), Rupinder Pal Singh (32nd) and Lloyd Norris Jones (67th) to outclass Warriors in the second semifinal at the Astroturf Hockey Stadium.
For the Punjab outfit Jamie Dwyer scored the consolation goal in the 33rd minute.
Warriors will now face Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the third-place play-off on Sunday.
Earlier in the first semifinal, Mandeep Singh and Nick Wilson scored a brace each to help Rhinos beat Wizards 4-2.
Rhinos scored through field goals from Mandeep (5th, 66th) and Wilson (32nd, 64th), while Nithin Thimmaiah (16th, 54th) was the goal-getter for Wizards.
The second semifinal between Waveriders and Warriors witnessed a slow start as both the teams took time to get off their blocks. The Delhi outfit was the aggressive of the two sides in the initial stages but with time Warriors started to catch their rivals.
It was Warriors who got the first penalty corner of the match in the 12th minute but it was turned down after Delhi made a successful referral appeal. Warriors, however, conceded a penalty corner in the subsequent counter-attack and Waveriders took full advantage of it to go 1-0 up.The Punjab side came out with more purpose in the second quarter and made a few inroads into the Delhi citadel but their forwards lacked in finishing.
But it was Waveriders who doubled their lead in the 32nd minute when Rupinder scored from their third penalty corner with a fierce flick.Warriors responded in the very next minute when Dwyer scored with a fierce shot from close range after getting a rebound to trail 1-2 at the halfway stage.
Even though both the teams displayed free-flowing, fast hockey in the third quarter, goals eluded them.
It was again Waveriders who came close to scoring in the 52nd minute, but Punjab’s reserve goalkeeper Bharat Chetri made an acrobatic save to deny Danish Mujataba.
Down 1-2, Punjab went all out attacking and in the process left huge gaps in their backline. Delhi were quick to cash in on the lapse as an unmarked Norris Jones took the game beyond Warriors’ grasp with a fine goal just three minutes from the hooter.
Punjab earned another short corner in the last minute of the game but misfired once again to sum up their day.