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HIL: Delhi Waveriders slump to second consecutive home loss

New Delhi: Former champions Delhi Waveriders' homecoming turned out to be a disappointing affair as they lost 2-5 to Jaypee Punjab Warriors to slump to their second consecutive loss in the fourth season of Hockey India League at the floodlit Shivaji Stadium, here yesterday.

For Punjab Warriors Mark Gleghorne (10th minute), Mark Knowles (11th), Christopher Ciriello (22nd) and Jake Whetton (37th) were the scorers, while Rupinder Pal Singh (35th, 55th) converted two out of the six short corners that the home team earned in the match yesterday.

The Waveriders had earlier lost 4-6 to Uttar Pradesh Wizards at the same venue yesterday. The Waveriders will now travel to Bhubaneswar to face Kalinga Lancers in their next match on February 5, while Punjab Warriors will host Uttar Pradesh Wizards in Chandigarh on February 4.

It was not a happy outing for the Waveriders for the second successive day as they failed to produce the spark of earlier seasons and showed glimpses of brilliance.
The Waveriders played well in patches, especially after the change of ends, whereas Punjab Warriors looked a more cohesive unit and threatened the home team's backline from the word go.

Punjab Warriors earned their first penalty corner in the 10th minute which was beautifully executed by Gleghorne. A minute later Punjab Warriors extended their lead when Australian Knowles scored from a rebound after Jasjit Singh Kular's intial try from their second set-piece struck the top upright.

In the 22nd minute, Punjab Warriors made the scoreline 3-0 in their favour when Christopher Ciriello converted their third penalty corner. Punjab Warriors made some good forays with their skipper Sardar Singh delivering a great diagonal reverse hit assist for Nikkin Thimmaiah in the 26th but the lanky striker's shot was saved by a diving Waveriders goalie Devon Manchester.

Putting behind their lacklustre performance in the first two quarters, the hosts came out with more purpose after the change of ends and dominated the proceedings in the third quarter during which they created some good chances.

After their aweful performance last night wherein Waveriders wasted as many as 11 penalty corners, Rupinder was bang on target with his team's second set piece with a powerful high flick to reduce the scoreline to 3-1.

But much to the disappointment of home fans, Punjab Warriors made the scoreline 5-1 two minutes later when Whetton scored a field goal from a tight angle.

The Waveriders earned two more penalty corners in the final stages of the third quarter but wasted both. In between Delhi skipper Simon Child's field strike was disallowed by the video umpire after Punjab Warriors went for referral. After wasting the fifth penalty corner, Rupinder found the target once again from the next set piece in the 55th minute to give home fans a ray of hope.

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