DEFENDING CHAMPIONS Ranchi Rays displayed spectacular hockey to defeat Jaypee Punjab Warriors 5-4 and register their tird consecutive win on home turf at the Astro Turf Hockey Stadium in Ranchi on Saturday.
Kothajit Singh (18th minute) and Daniel Beale (28th) scored field goals for Ranchi while experienced drag flicker Sandeep Singh (43rd) converted a penalty corner. Punjab struck through field goals by young forward Armaan Qureshi (7th) and Satbir Singh (31st). One field goal is being counted as two goals in this edition of the HIL.
Saturday's win ensured that the defending champions will continue their stay at the top of the league table with 21 points in their kitty.
The initial stages saw some aggressive hockey from Punjab which was rewarded with an early field goal from Qureshi. The hosts equalised through a field goal from defender Kothajit Singh early in the second quarter.
The hosts continued to attack and scored again through Daniel Beale within 10 minutes. The closing moments of the first half saw a lot of circle penetrations by both teams but excellent work from the goalkeepers kept the attackers at bay.
The third period started with a burst of attack from the Punjab Warriors. One minute after the restart, Punjab scored through Satbir to pull level at 4-4. But Ranchi did not let the setback deter them and continued to pay an aggressive game. They were rewarded with a penalty corner in the 43rd minute which was successfully converted by Sandeep.
The fourth quarter saw lots of attacks at both ends, but both strong performances from both sets of defenders ensured that there was no more changes to the scoreline.