New Delhi, 14 February 2015: In a fast paced game played between Delhi Waveriders and Ranchi Rays at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi, the hosts blanked Ranchi Rays 2-0 to win the match and are now very strong contenders to make it to the playoffs of the Hero Hockey India League 2015. It was a crucial game and a test of resilience for the home team who played a calm and poised game of hockey to void the MS Dhoni owned Ranchi Rays and emerge as the victors amidst the domicile crowd.
The hosts were well set and organized from the beginning as they gave away no gaps to the opponents. Both, Ranchi Rays and Delhi Waveriders were awarded a penalty corner each in the first and second quarter of the game respectively but none could convert. The first goal of the match came in the 26th minute through the stick of Lloyd Norris Jones of Delhi as a brilliant field goal, putting the home team in the lead with the score of 1-0, before the end of the first half.
By means of outstanding defence, Delhi Waveriders had an overall good spell in the first half as Simon Child showcased some amazing game play with good stick-work, penetrating the circle of the opponents. For Ranchi Rays, Justin Reidross was the hero of the initial half as he managed to save two critical goals for his team.
Ranchi Rays opened the third quarter very well, coming at Delhi in a much better manner and doing most of the attacking. Delhi continued to put up an outstanding defence as Ranchi Rays failed to convert another penalty corner awarded to them in the third quarter. The hosts also had more ball possession throughout the third quarter as compared to the visitors. Delhi Waveriders got a penalty corner in their name too but failed to materialize the opportunity as Lovell Tyler saved brilliantly. At the end of third quarter Delhi was again leading 1- 0.
Intending to make a comeback and score in the last quarter, Ranchi Rays started off attacking the opponent’s goal but found no gaps to sneak in the ball. The turf witnessed a stupendous exhibition of finishing when the young Akashdeep faultlessly put the well cornered ball into the net for a magnificent goal in the 53rd minute, doubling the lead for Delhi Waveriders. The ball passed through the guards of Lovell Tyler without a glitch as it touched the mesh, announcing the second goal for the home team. The Rays looked at creating scoring chances in the closing minutes but could not avail any as the final scores stood at 2-0, handing a much required triumph to the Delhi Waveriders.
Post the match Cedrid D’Souza, Head Coach Delhi Waveriders said “We are working on our rhythm from last month and I think we have started clicking as a unit. The reason behind the win today is the team bonding and communication that the boys have on the field as well as off it. While the entire team is defending and attacking together, we still ensure that we do not give any gaps for the opponents to counter our strategy”.
Speaking post the loss Head Coach, Ranchi Rays, Harendra Singh said “As we have reached the semi-final we gave chances to new players like M B Aiyappa and continuously switched the position of other players. Due to that our pace was sometimes fast and sometimes we lagged behind. However we kept the ball possession on our side and kept the opposition busy. It was a good match for us and a practice for all the players as the knock-out stage will be played right here”
Hero Goal of the Match – Lloyd Norris Jones (Delhi Waveriders)
Man of the Match – Rupinder Pal Singh (Delhi Waveriders)
NEXT MATCH – 15 February 2015
Uttar Pradesh Wizards will play against Dabang Mumbai at 1500 HRS IST at Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, Lucknow
Delhi Waveriders will take on Kalinga Lancers at 1900 HRS IST at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi