Mandeep Singh's field goal gave the Delhi Waveriders a comfortable 2-0 win over Ranchi Rays on Sunday in the third-place playoff for the HIL. Ranchi failed to find any decent openings in the second half despite dominating possession, and have for the first time finished a HIL season without a medal.
Both the teams started the match cautiously and mainly endeavored to retain their shape at the back, and deny the attackers any space in the final third. This resulted in a very cagey game, as the teams failed to break the deadlock in the first quarter.
In the 18th minute, Mandeep Singh broke the deadlock for the Delhi Waveriders. A long pass from the midfield somehow evaded a host of Ranchi players, before reaching Parvinder Singh inside the box. The 21-year-old's flick from close range was kept out by Ranchi goalkeeper Tyler Lovell. However, the rebound fell kindly for Mandeep Singh, and his reverse flick on the turn found the top corner of the net.
Incredibly, that was Mandeep's sixth goal (three field goals) of this season, and all of them had arrived against the Ranchi Rays.
In the second half, Ranchi came out firing all cylinders in search of the equalizer. The home side moved forward in numbers, specially down the left wing with Daniel Beale and the excitingly-talented Imran Khan putting the Delhi defence under pressure. However, Rupinder Pal Singh and co kept their composure and warded off every onslaught.
The match ended 2-0, and Ranchi, despite topping the league table in the group stage with a 100% record at home, have suffered two consecutive defeats in the knockout stage that sees them finishing empty-handed.