New Delhi, March 4 - Penalty corner expert Gurpreet Singh's late conversions steered Pune Strykers to an impressive 3-1 win over Delhi Wizards in the third and last match on day four of the World Series Hockey here Saturday.
Gurpreet converted a penalty corner in the dying moments of the third quarter and then pushed a penalty stroke to the left corner of the net to enable Pune overcome the fighting Delhi Wizards.
Philip Sunkel's 26th minute deflection helped Delhi cancel out Mario Almada's 12th minute stunner.
Both teams had won their opening matches and faced each other in front of a sizeable Delhi crowd here at the Major Dhyan Chand National stadium.
A faulty and panicky clearance inside the circle was pounced upon by the Pune Strykers to go up early.
International star Bikas Toppo dribbled past a host of defenders to the baseline, and passed it upfront to the waiting forwards. A Delhi defender came quick and intercepted, but let the ball bounce and trickle towards the cage. Even as the panicky defender was demanding an infringement and lost focus, Argentina's legend Almada retrieved the ball, whacked it to the net in fraction of a second (1-0).
Almada was fittingly declared the Man of the Match.
The beauty of the 12th minute goal was such that the Delhi fans jumped in joy and celebrated with bhangra, momentarily forgetting the fact the goal was struck against their team!
Rajpal Singh, Vikaram Kant and Philip Ankel worked in tandem to reply in style.
It was a copy book triangle move. Wily winger Rajpal stole the ball in the 25-yard area, took to the top of D very fast, passed to waiting Vikaram. The international star sent a strong diagonal pass towards the cage, where Ankel lunged forward to put the stick to deflect the flight. The ball crashed into the net to the right of goalie (1-1).
The same alert forward however wasted a great feed by Shakeel Abbasi in the 66th minute.
He dived and connected timely in the circle, but the flight was miscued to miss the empty goal, and agonizingly went out.
There were no goals in second and third quarters, despite plenty of penalty corners and counter attacks.
Gurpreet struck his first goal in the dying moments of third quarter, off the team's sixth penalty corner (53rd min, 2-1). The goal took the steam out of otherwise equally competent Delhi outfit.
Gurpreet scored his second goal in the 60th minute. Pune earned a stroke against the run of play. The burly youngster placed the ball to the left corner of the net (3-1) to take away the match from the host. (IANS)