Mohali: Jaypee Punjab Warriors defeated defending champions Ranchi Rhinos 4-2 in their penultimate league match to consolidate their second position in the Hero Hockey India League, here Sunday.
S V Sunil opened the scoring for Warriors in the 17th minute of the match with a field strike that beat Rhinos goalie Sushant Tirkey all ends up.
The hosts continued to control the proceedings in the second quarter but the Ranchi Rhinos restored parity through Amit Rohidas who converted his side`s first penalty corner in the 23rd minute.
The equalizer seemed to have pumped the Rhinos as they surged ahead in the 29th minute through Justin Reid Ross, who scored from the visitor`s second set piece.
The Warriors levelled the scores a minute before the half time when they were awarded a penalty stroke for Pradhan Somanna`s obstruction inside the circle, which was perfectly executed by captain Mark Knowles (34th minute).
The hosts earned their first penalty corner in the 49th minute but ace dragflicker Sandeep Singh`s flick was kept away by an alert Tirkey in Rhinos` goal.
Punjab Warriors secured two penalty corners in succession at the start of the fourth and final quarter but Jake Whetton`s first attempt was saved by Tirkey before Sandeep (55th minute) steeped forward to convert the next set piece.
Six minutes later, Australian Kieran Govers (61st minute) made the scoreline 4-2 by converting another penalty corner to seal the match in his side`s favour.
Punjab Warriors and the Rhinos will face each other once again in Ranchi on February 19 to round off their league campaign.
The win gave Jaypee Punjab Warriors five points and took their tally to 35 points from nine game.
Ranchi Rhinos suffered their fourth defeat in the tournament and continued to occupy the fourth position in the standings with 24 points from nine matches.