A fine opportunistic goal by Akashdeep Singh couple of minutes before the close enabled Delhi Waveriders defeat defending champions Ranchi Rhinos 1-0 and book a semifinal berth in the Hockey India League at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here on Wednesday.
Delhi now have 34 points from nine matches and they have one more league match to play. Whereas, Ranchi have 24 points from seven matches and have three more matches to go.
It was a sweet revenge for Delhi, after losing Ranchi 0-1 in the away game earlier and also losing 1-2 in the final of the last edition. Contrary to expectations, the match was lacklustre with both teams failing to get going in the first two quarters.
The third quarter was slightly better as both the teams made some good moves but the strikers failed to translate those attacks into goals. Ranchi forwards created few good openings and that earned them two quick penalty-corners but both were wasted.
The last quarter was perhaps the most exciting one as both teams went all out in search of that elusive goal. Ranchi's good moves were nullified by the poor marksmanship of their forwards.
On the other hand, Waveriders launched a furious counter move just three minutes before the hooter and made Ranchi defenders panicked. Akashdeep took advantage of this confusion to slam home the goal which turned out to be decisive at the end.
The visitors desperately tried to equalise but hosts' defenders crowed the penalty area and didn't allow Ranchi forwards to penetrate in the dying minutes.