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Delhi enter HIL semis despite 2-6 loss to Ranchi

New Delhi, Feb 21: Ranchi Rays hammered Delhi Waveriders 6-2 but couldnt stop the capital outfit from entering the semi-fils of the Coal India Hockey India League (HIL) on better goal difference at the Shivaji Stadium here on Tuesday.

Ranchi needed to win by a goal difference of more than eight to book place in the semi-fils ahead of Delhi. The visitors, who had 18 points coming into the match as against Delhi’s 23, found their goals from Manpreet Singh (ninth and 32nd minutes) and Imran Khan (37th). Delhi’s lone goal was scored by Justin Reid-Ross (45th).

With the win, Ranchi (-1 goal difference) finished their league campaign level with Delhi on 23 points but the latter has a better goal difference that ebled them to reach the knockouts in Chandigarh later in the week.

The win, however, leaves a slender hope for Ranchi as Uttar Pradesh Wizards, who have 23 points from nine games and a goal difference of nine, face table-toppers Dabang Mumbai in Lucknow on Wednesday.

A heavy loss could change the table even though it looks very unlikely. Dabang Mumbai (33 points from nine games) and Kalinga Lancers (28 points from 10 games) had already entered the semi-fils. Ranchi can take heart from the fact that they finished above the defending champions Jaypee Punjab Warriors in the league phase. Punjab are already out of the race for the semi-fils with 22 points. IANS

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Ankur Kalita