Mohali: Their semifinal berth already secured, Jaypee Punjab Warriors signed off their league engagements on a resounding note, beating bottom-placed Dabang Mumbai 3-2 here today to finish on top of the round robin stage of the third Hero Hockey India League.
By virtue of this win Punjab Warriors finished on top with 35 points from 10 games ahead of Ranchi Rhinos, Uttar Pradesh Wizards and defending champions Delhi Waveriders. The Punjab Warriors will now face the Waveriders in the semifinals on Saturday, while Ranchi Rays will be up against Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the other last four match on the same day at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi.
Jake Whetton (37th minute), Sandeep Singh (44th) and Kieron Govers (59th) were the goal scorers for the hosts, while Nick Catalin (17th) and Harmanpreet Singh (53rd) dounded the board for the Mumbai outfit. Contrary to the final result, Punjab Warriors had to slog it out to register the win. After a barren first quarter, Dabang Mumbai stunned the home crowd by taking the lead in the 17th minute through Catalin's field goal.
Punjab Warriors were up against resolute Mumbai defence which they finally managed to break in the 38th minute when Whetton scored a fine goal after reciving a pass from Sandeep. Favourites to lift this year's title, the Punjab Warriors then took the lead in the six minutes later when Sandeep scored from a penalty stroke.
But Mumbai were in no mood to give up without a fight and secured the equaliser seven minutes from the final hooter through Harmanpreet's field effort. Australian Govers came to Punjab Warriors rescue just a minute from full time with a field goal after a good build up skipper Jamie Dwyer.