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Ross nets brace, Rhinos rally to pip Warriors 3-2

Feb 4 (PTI) Justin Reid Ross struck twice as Ranchi Rhinos came back from a two-goal deficit to down Punjab Warriors 3-2 in a round-robin match of the inaugural Hockey India League on Monday. By virtue of this win, the Rhinos have consolidated their second position in the league standings with 36 points from 11 games, eight points behind table toppers Delhi Waveriders.

Irrespective of the loss, the Warriors continue to occupy the third spot with 28 points from 11 matches. It was the Punjab side which dominated the early exchanges with Australian duo of Kieren Govers (34th minute) giving them the lead through a field goal just a minute before the end of the first half.

Christopher Ciriello then made the scoreline 2-0 in favour of the home team by converting a penalty corner in the 50th minute. Trailing 0-2, the Rhinos went all out attacking and made a remarkable comeback into the match by scoring three goals in a span of 20 minutes.

Reid Ross pulled one back for the Ranchi side in the 52nd minute by converting a penalty corner before Mandeep Singh made the scoreline 2-2 with a field goal. Reid Ross once again was at the thick of things and gave Ranchi full points from the game when he converted his second penalty corner of the match just a minute from the hooter, much to the disappointment of the home crowd.

Warriors will now face Delhi Waveriders in their final round-robin match here tomorrow, while the Rhinos will be up against Mumbai Magicians in their final game in Mumbai on Thursday.


PUNJAB PLAY FOR PRIDE AGAINST WAVERIDERS

Punjab Warriors would get a last chance to settle scores against Delhi W averiders in the round-robin stage of the inaugural HIL when they host the league leaders in their last league encounter on Tuesday. Both teams have booked their semifinal berths and the result is unlikely to affect Waveriders, who are safely perched on top with 44 points. Warriors are currently third with 27 points and a win would guarantee them a second or third place finish.

Warriors opened their campaign with a 1-2 loss against Waveriders and then again lost 0-3 in New Delhi. In both the matches, Dutch custodian Jaap Stockmann saved at least a dozen changes. He will again play a crucial role in Tuesday’s tie.
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