Ranchi, Feb. 2: The Hockey India League match between Ranchi Rhinos and Jaypee Punjab Warriors in a packed Astroturf ground ended in a tame 1-1 draw this evening.
With this outcome, the Rhinos have inched closer to a semi-final berth. They now stand second on the table with 31 points behind Delhi Waveriders, who have 39.
After yesterday's disastrous 5-2 loss to the Waveriders, the Rhinos today rose to form and kept the crowd happy, though they failed to win the day.
The Rhinos, however, conceded the first goal in the 14th minute when Warriors' Malak Singh netted the ball, putting his team on a 1-0 lead.
Both teams then went on to keep up the pressure on each other, taking turns to attack. Around 25 minutes into the game, the Rhinos equalised when 17-year-old Mandeep Singh, who the team likes to call "Baby Rhino", put the ball into the net after getting a pass from Nick Wilson.
With 12 minutes before the final hooter, Punjab Warriors' forward S.V. Sunil took a nasty hit on the temple from a rising ball. A bleeding Sunil had to be stretchered out of the ground, but Punjab officials said he was recovering after first aid.
Warriors goalkeeper J. Stockman saved well over a dozen attacks from the Rhinos and spared his team the blushes of losing the match. In fact, the credit for the draw clearly went to Stockman.