Delhi Waveriders' winless streak continued as they lost 2-3 to defending champions Jaypee Punjab Warriors to slump to their third defeat in the fifth edition of the Hockey India League, in New Delhi on Tuesday.
The loss meant Waveriders would continue to languish at the bottom of the six-team event while Punjab Warriors have jumped up by recorded their second win from four games.
The first quarter was devoid of any real action even as Punjab Warriors and Waveriders made some good forays into the opposition half, both the teams failed to create any clear chance till late into the quarter.
The match was expected to be a contest between Waveriders' defence and Punjab Warriors attack but the hosts looked impressive early on at the Shivaji Stadium.
However, the visitors had the last laugh in the quarter when they scored in the final minute via Dutchman Robert van der Horst, who scored with a precise reverse shot from top of the Waveriders circle after he was set up by Satbir Singh.
Punjab Warriors went into the break with a two-goal advantage, courtesy the field goal as according to new scoring rules is HIL one field strike is counted as two.
In the second quarter, it was all Waveriders as they attacked in numbers and created numerous scoring chances but goals eluded the hosts.
In the 18th minute Simon Child's reverse hit from a difficult angle was blocked by Punjab Warriors goalkeeper Tristan Clemons.
The Waveriders continued with their onslaught as Punjab Warriors were forced dug deep and defend in numbers.
In the last five minutes of the second quarter, the Waveriders unleashed a barrage of attacks on the Punjab Warriors goal, which included two penalty corners but on both occasion the home team skipper and ace dragflicker Rupinder Pal Singh faltered.
After the change of ends, the Waveriders had real scoring opportunity in the opening minute but striker Mandeep Singh shot wide from an open chance with only the onrushing rival goalkeeper.
Punjab Warriors Mirco Pruijser was then denied by Waveriders goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch before Tristan White pounced drew the scores level for the hosts with a sublime finish from close range after pouncing on a loose ball inside the visitor's 'D'.
Mandeep then came close for the Waveriders but his powerful reverse shot was brilliantly kept away with his extended sticks by Punjab Warriors goalkeeper Clemons.
Seconds from the third quarter, Pubjab Warriors earned their first penalty corner but wasted it. Going into the fourth and final quarter locked at 2-2, the Waveriders earned their third penalty corner soon but once again Rupinder's was once again way off the target.
Punjab Warriors, on the other hand, were right on the money with their second penalty corner which was perfectly converted by Mink van der Weerden in the 53rd minute to hand the visitors a 3-2 lead.
The Waveriders pressed hard in the last seven minutes of the game in search of their first win and in the process secured their fourth penalty corner. The hosts opted for an indirect option and stopped the push out the circle in search of a field goal but it was not to happen as Punjab Warriors defended stoutly to register their second win in the tournament.
The Waveriders will next play Uttar Pradesh Wizards on Wednesday in their quest for maiden win.
Image: Punjab Warriors players celebrate a goal against Delhi Waveriders during their HIL match on Tuesday