New Delhi: Two own goals by Jaypee Punjab Warriors gave Delhi Waveriders a 2-1 win in the opening match of the Hockey India League (HIL) here at the Major Dhyan Chand National stadium in Delhi.
Unfortunate last touch by Punjab players Gurinder Singh and Mark Knowles gave Delhi two goals but the visitors were able to erase only one through Roger Padros in the 42nd minute.
Delhi benefited when first in the 14th minute Gurinder's deflection off an Oskar Deecke reverse-hit attempt went into his own goal and then in the 22nd minute when Gurvinder Singh Chandi's centre at the end of a super solo run also found its way into the Punjab goal off Knowles' stick. But as per rules, the goals were awarded to Deecke and Chandi.
The match got off to a speedy start and Delhi could have scored as early as the first minute but Simon Child couldn't connect on three attempts inside the striking circle at the end of a counter-attack.
Delhi could have got a goal's cushion in the 20th minute but Rupinderpal Singh failed to make use of the penalty corner. Rupinder went onto miss two more penalty corners at the end of the second quarter.
The Warriors should thank their goalkeeper and Man-of-the-Match Jaap Stockmann for securing them a consolation point (by virtue of losing by a margin of two or less goals). He made at least half a dozen saves to give the scoreline a respectable look. Otherwise, it could have been much worse for Punjab.
Delhi skipper Sardar Singh expressed satisfaction with the team's performance. "The first game is always crucial for the team's moral and we executed our roles well emerging victorious. Having played for a short span together, we are really satisfied with our performance," he said.
The match also saw some drama when a couple of men from the Hindu Yuvak Sabha of Hindu Sena tried to disrupt play, showing their anger against the participation of Pakistan players in the HIL. They were carrying placards and went onto the playing area that is strictly prohibited. But somehow they managed to escape everyone's eye and invaded the pitch to show their protest. They were, however, overpowered immediately by the security guards.