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Punjab Warriors looking to end Waveriders unbeaten run

Posted on Jan 28, 10:44PM | IANS

Fast improving Jaypee Punjab Warriors would look to ending the unbeaten run of league leaders Delhi Waveriders when they face-off in their Hero Hockey India League (HIL) encounter at the Major Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium here Tuesday.

Currently placed third in the standings after a thrilling 4-3 win over Uttar Pradesh Wizards, the Warriors are now looking to conquer the team that handed them a loss in their tournament opener at this very stadium and would take solace in the fact that they are a far more settled unit now.

The Warriors lost their first three encounters and looked a vulnerable side. However, the Jamie Dwyer-led outfit has turned things around since then and have registered three victories and a draw in their last four outings.

"We are combining well now. Also we are playing well on the road and hopefully we will continue to do so," Dwyer said after their match against Uttar Pradesh.

However, Dwyer and his team would know well that it is easier said than done against a side which has looked equally impressive in offence as well as defence.

Against Uttar Pradesh Wizards, the Warriors began on a high scoring four goals in the first quarter itself but then took the foot off the accelerator, which could have almost cost them full points.

While the Wizards could not make them pay, the Waveriders may not be that generous as they showed in their 6-4 victory over Mumbai Magicians in their away encounter a week ago.

The Waveriders have scored 15 goals in their last three encounters and with penalty corner specialist Rupinder Pal Singh also finding form; the hosts would once again be looking forward to a goal riot on Tuesday.

The Warriors only chance to overpower them would be to tighten the defence and aim for as many penalty corners because that is one area where the Waveriders have been found napping in the past.

Jagbir Singh, of Jaypee Punjab Warriors, said: "The teams coordination has improved and is doing well on the field now. The match against Delhi Waveriders is definitely a tough one but we assure everyone that we will give them a good fight. Strategies change for every game and we will surely use some new tactics against them tomorrow.

Punjab goalkeeper Jaap Stockman said: "The Indian youngsters have shown tremendous improvement and are coming up really well and fast. I am impressed with the Indian goal keepers and the amount of hard work they put in during training session especially with P.R. Sreejesh and Bharat Chetri."

Delhi Waveriders coach Ajay Kumar Bansal said: "JP Warriors have been performing well and have been climbing the ladder really fast. The team is not over confident about tomorrow's match and will play it with the same tempo as any other. The management and staff is really happy with the team's performance."