Buoyed by a last gasp win against Pune Strykers 24 hours ago, Chandigarh Comets made it two wins in two days, defeating visitors Delhi Wizards 3-2 in their World Series Hockey (WSH) encounter at the Sector 42 stadium here on Tuesday.
Young drag flicker Gurjinder Singh, Chandigarh’s highest scorer in the WSH so far, raised his tournament goal tally to 11 with a brace that helped script a comfortable victory for the hosts. Enjoying territorial supremacy in front of their home crowd, the Comets started on a dominant note, making frequent forays into their rival’s half.
The tactic finally paid off in the eighth minute when the hosts won a penalty corner that was duly executed by Gurjinder. Two minutes later, Delhi restored parity, Vikramjeet Singh converting a penalty corner taken by Victo Singh.
But once again, Gurjinder rose to the occasion, converting another penalty corner to make it 2-1 in the home side’s favour in the 14th minute.
The game’s pace slackened in the second quarter, with both teams passing the ball around rather than showing the intent to score. But, seven minutes before half-time, Delhi once again drew level, skipper Shakeel Abbasi collecting Upendra Pillay’s pass from the right flank and putting it past Chandigarh goalie Harjot Singh.
Chandigarh blazed ahead in the 44th minute, Mohd Amir Khan teaming up well with Sukhvinder Singh Gabbar to make it 3-2. Just a few moments later, Delhi wasted a golden opportunity to draw level for the third time in the match, Vikramjeet failing to convert a penalty stroke.
In the last few seconds of play, Abbasi displayed a spurt of energy to run past a couple of Chandigarh players in a desperate bid to eke out a draw. But his efforts came to naught, and the home side held on to move to within a point of leaders and state rivals Sher-e-Punjab.
Delhi, who beat Mumbai Marines 2-1 in a late-night fixture at home that ended around 11pm on Monday, were playing their second match in less than 24 hours, and their coach Darryl d’Souza admitted that "there was some “exhaustion due to the travel, due to which the home side had a bit of an edge." "But since every team in the WSH is affected by this kind of scheduling, we should not complain and instead take it up as a challenge,” added d’Souza.