Jaypee Punjab Warriors defeated Delhi Waveriders 3-1 to extend their winning streak in the second season of the Hero Hockey India League at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi.
It was a sweet revenge for the Punjab outfit, who came the second best in the previous encounter between the two sides last week.
In the opening game of the six-team franchise-based event this year, Waveriders had finished on the winning side as they defeated Warriors by an identical 3-1 margin.
Both the teams produced exciting fast-paced hockey in the first quarter but it was the visitors who enjoyed a slender one goal lead after the end of 17-and-a-half minutes.
Star drag-flicker Sandeep Singh struck from his side's first penalty corner in the seventh minute to take the early initiative. The Waveriders got their opportunities in the opening half, earning as many as three penalty corners but failed to convert a single one.
Credit should also go to Punjab Warriors' Dutch goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann who made a double save from the Waveriders first set piece. He first denied Rupinderpal Singh and then kept out the rebound to keep his slate clean.
Even though the Waveriders continued their attacking game after the change of ends but goals eluded them. The forwardline of the home team created some good moves but failed to convert them into goals.
Punjab Warriors had the best of the chances and managed to secure another penalty corner just five minutes into the second half but this time Sandeep shot wide.
S V Sunil missed another bright chance for the visitors in the third quarter but his reverse shot from top of the circle went inches wide of the goal.
Trailing by a goal, the Waveriders continued to press hard in search of the equaliser. Veteran Arjun Halappa and Rajpal Singh combined well upfront for the Waveriders but Punjab Warriors defended in numbers to thwart any risk to their citadel.
Satbir doubled Punjab Warriors lead in the 63rd minute with a powerful forehand shot after pouncing on a rebound.
But Rupinder scored from a penalty corner in the next minute to keep Delhi's hopes alive in the match.
Punjab Warriors had the last laugh when Shivendra Singh scored three minutes from the final hooter to make the scoreline 3-1 in favour of the visitors.
The Warriors (16) moved to the top of the standings by virtue of this win, while the Waveriders are presently on the second position with 12 points.
The Warriors will take on Uttar Pradesh Wizards in Lucknow on Sunday before the Waveriders play debutantes Kalinga Lancers in Bhubaneswar in the evening.
Photograph courtesy: Hockey India League on Facebook