Delhi Waveriders went all out, registering its first victory over Ranchi Rhinos in the Hockey India League at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, here on Wednesday.
Akashdeep Singh scored the winner in the 65th minute as Waveriders consolidated their position at the top of the points table with a 1-0 win in their last match at home.
The Rhinos, on the other hand, will rue their missed chances. They got four penalty corners and two clear shots at goal but were let down by poor stopping and off-target forwards.
With the teams evenly matched it was a battle of attrition. With attack being their strength, there was no lack of effort in trying to break the opposition defence.
It was end-to-end play as both teams were quick on the counter. But while Gurbaj Singh and Rupinderpal Singh stood firm for Delhi, Kothajit Singh and Birendra Lakra foiled every attempt by Delhi.
Delhi got its first chance in the 10th minute but Stanley Minz's goal-line save kept the slate clean. Thereafter, there were hardly any chances even though both sides kept snapping at the edge of opposition’s danger area. Talwinder Singh got the first clear shot in the 21st minute but the Delhi youngster hit wide.
After the change of ends, Ranchi increased the pace of the game and came close to scoring twice but Barry Middleton and Justin Reid Ross missed from close range.
The match, though exciting, appeared heading for a goalless draw before Akashdeep ensured his team would end its assignments at home on a winning note, slotting the ball under a diving Ranchi goalkeeper Francesco Cortes.
Ranchi kept up the pressure to get the equaliser but it asn’t to be; a penalty corner was missed even in the final seconds.
Ranchi remains third on the table, but with the top four teams miles ahead of the other two, it is almost guaranteed to make the semifinals.
The result: Delhi Waveriders 1 (Akashdeep Singh) bt Ranchi Rhinos 0).
Keywords: Hockey India League