An excellent exhibition of defence saw Puneri Paltan beat Haryana Steelers 45-27 at the Motilal Nehru School of Sports, Rai in Sonepat on Sunday and hand the home side their second consecutive loss. Akshay Jadhav and Girish Maruti Ernak both finished with High5s and as many as five out of the seven Puneri Paltan players contributed to the team’s tackle points tally.

Haryana Steelers started strong by picking up Puneri Paltan’s most successful raider so far, Nitin Tomar, in his very first raid. But the Puneri Paltan defence was equal to the task and picked up Monu Goyat soon after before the team equalised at 3-3 in just the 4th minute through Rajesh Mondal’s successful raid.

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Once Nitin Tomar came back on the mat, Puneri Paltan were able to force the advantage through his raids and inflict an All-Out on Haryana Steelers in the 12th minute. Tomar and Mondal kept the raid points ticking for Puneri Paltan while their defenders maintained a tight unit when Goyat and his men came to raid which meant the team maintained their advantage.

A Mondal 2-point raid in the 15th minute opened up a 6 point lead for Puneri Paltan and soon after Tomar bagged two successful raids. The Puneri Paltan’s defence too stood strong and lapped up Vikash Khandola and Monu Goyat to go into halftime with a 19-11 scoreline.

Haryana Steelers’ Naveen was sent to the bench early in the second half and Tomar continued his fine raiding to bring his team’s lead up to 14 points in just the first minute. For Haryana Steelers, Vikash Khandola was in supreme form and a Super Raid by him brought the lead down to 9 points. He picked up points on a regular basis and a bonus point in the 16th minute brought up his Super 10.

But the Puneri Paltan defence was extremely impressive as captain Girish Maruti Ernak and Akshay Jadhav both reached their High 5s to make things difficult for Haryana Steelers’ raiders. Puneri Paltan picked up 16 tackle points as opposed to Haryana Steelers’ 4 which made the biggest difference in the end.

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With a Super Tackle opportunity for Haryana Steelers in the 18th minute, Mondal returned a touch point to bring them down to 2 men on the mat. Tomar then picked up both the players in his next raid to inflict a third All-Out on Haryana Steelers and take the team ahead by 42-26.

Even when they had a sizeable lead, Puneri Paltan’s defence didn’t let their guard down and another successful tackle in Haryana Steelers’ last raid of the match saw the visitors beat the home team by an 18-point margin.