Ranchi Rays finish league stage of Hockey India League on top

Riding on the impressive hat-trick by Ashley Jackson, Ranchi Rays outplayed Punjab Warriors by 3-2 in the League match of the ongoing Hero Hockey India League in Mohali.

With this win, MS Dhoni’s men boys defeated Punjab Warriors in their second tie and claimed the top position of the points-table.

The Punjab Warriors started the first quarter with their aggressive attacks and fast-paced game, which kept Ranchi Rays players busy through-out the quarter. Rays’ star players Mandeep Singh and Manpreet Singh initiated their attacks in the beginning of the match but were soon thwarted by Punjab Warriors’ defenders.

Sandeep Singh put Punjab in front when his hit didn’t give any chance to goal-keeper Tyler Lovell. The early lead in the match boosted the morale of the players and they continued their attacking game to create more chances.

Punjab got another chance in the 15th minute when the home team earned two back-to-back penalty corners and they converted their second attempt in another goal of the match.

Australian forward Kieren Govers took the first shot but was foiled by the goalie. Australian defender Christopher Ciriello received the second shot and he sent the ball straight into the net.

In the second quarter, Ranchi Rays played with better strategies and managed to keep the ball in their control. The visitors kept charging on the opponents’ half and both the teams fought hard to dominate the quarter.

In the 26th minute, drag-flicker Manpreet Singh injected the ball in the D and skipper Ashley Jackson hit the ball hard towards the box and Ranchi Rays scored their first goal of the match.

Punjab Warriors kept on charging but Ranchi Rays did not allow them to run free. Ranchi Rays again earned a penalty corner and once again, Ashley scored goal for his team to equalised, when Manpreet injected the ball into the D which was received and smashed acutely by Ashley into the box.

The second goal lifted the morale of Ranchi Rays and they charged-on with quick passes in the last minute of the match. They earned another penalty corner and Ashley converted it in his third goal of the match.

The penalty corner was repetitive of the previous one, where Manpreet perfectly injected the ball in D and Ashley sent the ball in the net by outfoxing Jaap Stockman.