Ranchi: Defending Champions Ranchi Rays displayed spectacular hockey to register their hat trick win on home turf. The hosts came from behind to defeat Jaypee Punjab Warriors 5-4 in the 12th match of the 4th Coal India Hockey India League. The match which was being played at the Astro Turf Hockey Stadium, Ranchi saw the hosts enthralling the audience to some scintillating hockey. The win in the match will ensure the Defending Champions stay at the top of the points table with 21 points to their kitty.
The first half of the match started with attacking intent from both the teams. The initial minutes of the game saw an aggressive play from the Jaypee Punjab Warriors which was rewarded with a goal in the 7th minute from young forward Armaan Qureshi taking the score to 0-2 in favour of the visiting team. The hosts replied back in the 18th minute scoring a much needed equalizer through a field goal from defender Kothajit Singh. Ranchi Rays continued their pressing game and within 10 minutes they scored again through Daniel Beale taking the lead in the game with a score of 4-2. The ending moments of the first half saw many more circle penetrations by both the teams but excellent work from the goalkeepers kept the attackers at bay. The first half ended with the score at 4-2 in favour of Ranchi Rays.
The third period started with a burst of attack from the Jaypee Punjab Warriors. One minute into the half Punjab scored a goal through Satbir Singh to equalize the score at 4-4. Ranchi Rays team didn't hold back and pressed harder and were rewarded adequately with a penalty corner in the 43rd minute which was successfully converted by drag flicker Sandeep Singh giving the home team a much needed lead of 5-4 in the game. The fourth quarter saw an attacking game at both ends, but a strong defense line ensured none of the attempts materialized for either sides. The Ranchi Rays held strong and the match ended with a win for the hosts by a score of 5-4.
'The Man of the Match' award of INR 50,000 was given to Kothajit Singh from Ranchi Rays. The Coal India 'Goal of the Match' of INR 50,000 was awarded to Daniel Beale from Ranchi Rays by Shri R.S Mahapatro, Director (Personnel) CCL. 'Hero Emerging Player of the Match Award' of INR 25,000 was awarded to Armaan Qureshi from Jaypee Punjab Warriors, while 'The Most Entertaining Player of the Match' award went to Imran Khan from Ranchi Rays.
The next match of the 4th edition of the Coal India Hockey India League will be played between Dabang Mumbai and Kalinga Lancers on 31st January at Mahindra Stadium in Mumbai.