Tristan Clemons was at his usual best yet again to help Jaypee Punjab Warriors beat Uttar Pradesh Wizards 1-0 in a crucial match here on Monday. Mink van der Weerden was the lone scorer of the match with his successful 35th minute dragflick.
The defending Champions started the match with positive intent, finding space in the striking circle and attempting a few daring shots at the post but couldn’t quite put it past Uttar Pradesh Wizards in-form goalkeeper PR Sreejesh. Sardar Singh came up with an inspired show in the first quarter when he enthralled the audience with impressive stick work to beat three defenders in the circle and find momentum to strike, but unfortunately it was slightly wide. MG Poonacha won a PC for the Jaypee Punjab Warriors in the 6th minute but a missed trap by Jake Whetton denied them an early lead. Uttar Pradesh Wizards too missed out on converting a PC in the 13th minute resulting in a stalemate at the end of the first quarter.
Jaypee Punjab Warriors goalkeeper Tristan Clemons was kept busy through the second quarter when Uttar Pradesh Wizards’ forward line made brave attempts at scoring field goals but Clemons, who was awarded his third man-of-the-match this season, was impeccable yet again as he denied the opponents a lead. Florent van Aubel, on the other hand, showcased brilliant defence work when Mink van der Weerden’s drag flick was promptly denied in the 21st minute when Jaypee Punjab Warriors won their second PC. The first half too remained goalless.
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Clemons continued his brilliance through the third quarter too when he padded away a powerfully struck flick by Argentine Gonzalo Peillat when the Uttar Pradesh Wizards won a PC in the 33rd minute. The defending Champions finally struck in the 35th minute when Mink van der Weerden successfully converted a PC. This was his sixth successful PC this season, giving his team a 1-0 lead.
Jaypee Punjab Warriors’ task was cut out though as just a mere win wouldn’t do. They would have to beat the opponents by a margin of three goals to keep them in the hunt for a Semi Final spot and they earnestly sought the elusive field goal in the final quarter. Clemons, meanwhile, made as many as ten crucial saves to keep the Uttar Pradesh Wizards score a nil. But the Uttar Pradesh Wizards defence were up to task to deny the title holders further lead.
Image and text courtesy: HIL Media