20th February, 2016, Ranchi: The first semi-final encounter of the 4th Coal India Hockey India League between Jaypee Punjab Warriors and Delhi Waveriders finished with the former winning the hard fought encounter 3-1 and registering its name in the Finals for the third consecutive year in a row. The match which was being played at the Astro Turf Hockey Stadium, Ranchi received overwhelming support from the Ranchi crowd who experienced a hard fought encounter between two northern giants, where Jaypee Punjab Warriors played top class hockey to book their berth in the finals. Their opponents in the finals will be decided post the second semi-final between defending Champions Ranchi Rays and Kalinga Lancers at the same venue.
The first quarter of the match started with both the teams playing cautiously to track the game plan of each other. Both the teams looked for counter attacking opportunities and the first major opportunity came for Delhi Waveriders in the 6th minute through a penalty corner which was converted effectively by Rupinder Pal Singh to give him his 12th goal of the tournament. The score stood at 1-0 at the end of the first quarter in favour of Delhi Waveriders. The second quarter started with Jaypee Punjab Warriors pressing hard to establish equilibrium in the match when the young striker Armaan Qureshi came to the aid of the team in the 19th minute through a reverse flick shot which beat Devon Manchester to give Punjab a lead of 2-1 in the game.
Jaypee Punjab Warriors got another opportunity to extend the lead in the 27th minute but they were unsuccessful in converting the penalty corner to their favour. Punjab kept on the pressure in the end moments of the quarter with SV Sunil making two good circle penetrations but none of them converted into a goal. The half ended with Jaypee Punjab Warriors in the lead by 2-1.
The third quarter started with Jaypee Warriors Punjab dominating the game. Delhi Waveriders tried to consolidate possession but couldn’t make use of it. Delhi Waveriders came close in the 39th minute through Justin Reid Ross but the deflected shot went past the goal post. The third quarter ended with Punjab still in the lead with 2-1.
Punjab kept up the pressure for most of the 4th quarter with a strong ball possession. The pressure from Punjab came handy when a high ball from across the field was stopped by Matt Gohdes and deflected onto the foot of Delhi Waveriders defender to give Punjab a penalty corner. The opportunity was well converted by Simon Orchard in the 51st minute to give a two goal cushion to Punjab. The score stood at 3-1 post the goal. Delhi tried their best to come back in the end moments but a strong defense and good goalkeeping from Tristan Clemons kept the Delhi Waveriders away from scoring. The last few seconds of the game saw Delhi coming very close to score but exceptional goalkeeping from Tristan Clemons helped Jaypee Punjab Warriors secure a spot in the finals with a score on 3-1.
“We played very well as a team and Mark in particular defended very well. If we continue playing this way we are very hopeful of a positive finishtomorrow,” said, Barry Dancer, Head Coach, Jaypee Punjab Warriors.
Disappointed from the loss Cedric Dsouza, Coach, Delhi Waveriders said, “We created many chances in the match but we weren’t able to convert any of them. It was disappointing but we also need to give credit to the defense of the Jaypee Punjab Warriors. We haven’t lost hope yet and we aim to have a podium finish tomorrow.”
The Coal India Goal of the Match award of INR 50,000 was presented by Mr. Mohan Das, Director PR and HR, Coal India Limited to Armaan Qureshi from Jaypee Punjab Warriors. Armaan also won the Hero Emerging Player of the Match award of INR 25,000. The Most Entertaining Player of the Match’ was given to Satbir Singh from Jaypee Punjab Warriors and the Man of the Match award of INR 50,000 was given to SV Sunil from Jaypee Punjab Warriors.
The second Semi-Final of the 4th Coal India Hockey India League will be played between Ranchi Rays and Kalinga Lancers at Astroturf Hockey Stadium in Ranchi at 5:30pm on 20th February, 2016.
The six team annual franchise based hockey league, the flagship event of Hockey India – the apex body governing the sport in the country and sanctioned by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) is being played across six venues in India from 18th January - 21st February 2016.