Jalandhar, 04 February 2013: Justin Reid-Ross’ fierce drag flick in the penultimate minute helped Ranchi Rhinos beat Jaypee Punjab Warriors 3-2 in the Hero Hockey India League at Surjit Singh Hockey Stadium on Monday.
Rhinos showed great fighting skills after being down 0-2, with Justin Reid Ross scoring a brace, both penalty corner conversions, and Mandeep Singh scoring a superb field goal. Rhinos thus beat Warriors for the second time in Jalandhar, having won their previous battle 2-1. With this win, Rhinos are now guaranteed to finish the league stage in second position.
The first half was a big midfield battle, with neither team being able to prove their clear supremacy. The genuine chances were few and far between. Floris Evers and Lakra combined well in the seventh minute, but the final shot was comfortably cleared by the Warriors’ goalkeeper.
Then in the last minute of first quarter, Evers was once again involved in a dangerous move, before Jaap Stockmann made a head-on save to keep the scoreboard 0-0. Warriors started the second quarter well, and earned a penalty corner in the second minute. Jamie Dwyer’s drag flick was well blocked by Rhinos’ defender, and goalkeeper Cortes was not even tested. Warriors made some good moves in the next 10 minutes, but were denied by an alert defence. Simon Orchid made a couple of good moves to enter the Rhinos circle, and on the second occasion, helped his team take the lead.
In the last minute of first half, Orchid made a superb pass to an completely unmarked Kieran Govers, who was standing to the right of the goalpost. Govers deflected the ball beautifully past Cortes to put the hosts ahead. For once, the Rhinos defence was caught napping on that occasion.
The third quarter once again saw both teams getting engaged in another midfield battle, with neither of the goalkeeper being really threatened. It all changed in the last few minutes though. Rob Hammond made a brilliant move in the Rhinos circle in the 50th minute, beating three defenders before being brought down illegally. The penalty corner saw Christopher Ciriello smack the ball between Cortes’ legs to put the hosts 2-0 ahead.
The home supporters’ joy was short-lived though, as Rhinos earned a penalty corner at the other end. Justin Reid Ross rifled the drag flick high in to the net even before Stockmann could react to pull one back for the visitors.
And Rhinos comeback was complete in the 62nd minute, when Mandeep Singh scored a fabulous field goal, on a pass provided by Kothajit Singh, to make it 2-2. Rhinos had played some good aggressive hockey for a few minutes before the goal, and got their reward.
And things went from bad to worse for the hosts in the dying minutes of the match, as Mandeep Singh earned the visitors their second penalty corner. Once again Rhinos went for the tried and tasted formula, and once again Justin Reid Ross smashed the ball past Stockmann in the net to seal five points for Rhinos.
Jaypee Punjab Warriors captain Jamie Dwyer said that the team played in patches in this match: “As we are already in the semis, we played in patches and didn’t push ourselves much. We want to keep our best game for the Semis,” Dwyer stated at the post-match press conference.
Ranchi Rhinos captain Moritz Furste said is very happy and proud of his team which came back after 0-2. “We all are very glad to came back from 0-2 and won the match. We are now looking forward to the weekend match in our home ground. We are performing better and better in every match,” Furste added.
The Hero Hockey India League is organised by Hockey India with official sanction from the International Hockey Federation (FIH). The inaugural season is being played from January 14 to February 10, 2013 in a home-and-away format. The five franchisee-based teams, consisting of the top hockey players from India and around the world, will compete for the prestigious trophy. Hero Motocorp Ltd. is the Title Sponsor of the league while Airtel is the Associate Sponsor. Star Sports, who is the Broadcast Partner, will be telecasting all matches live.
Ranchi Rhinos 3 (Justin Reid Ross 52, 69; Mandeep Singh 62) bt Jaypee Punjab Warriors 2 (Kieran Govers 34, Christopher Ciriello 50)
HERO Goal of the Day: Kieran Govers
Man-of-the-Match: Kothajit Singh