Uttar Pradesh Wizards produced a fine performance to stun Delhi Waveriders 6-4 in a high-scoring round-robin match of the fourth Hockey India League (HIL) at the Shivaji Stadium.
UP Wizards scored through Rupinder Pal Singh’s (19th minute) penalty corner conversion and two field goals in quick succession from Chinglensana Singh (54th) and Australian Jamie Dwyer (55th) and another late strike from a set piece by Gonzalo Peillat (58th) to register the victory, their second in the tournament.
The win, however, did not help UP Wizards to move up the table as they are still stuck in the fifth spot with 12 points, while Waveriders dropped a place to third.
The Waveriders will next play Jaypee Punjab Warriors here tomorrow, while UP Wizards will travel to Chandigarh also to face Punjab Warriors on February 4.
The Waveriders fought back hard and made the game interesting in the final quarter by scoring two field goals through Justin Reid-Ross (55th) and Talwinder Singh (58th) but it was not enough for the hosts to evade loss in their first home match.
The win also enabled UP Wizards to stop their three-match losing streak and also avenge their 1-3 loss at the hand of the Delhi outfit in their previous meeting this year in Lucknow.
It was a fine show by the UP Wizards backline as they stoutly defended as many as 11 penalty corners earned by the Waveriders.
The Wizards, on the other hand, secured five set pieces out of which they converted two.
The Waveriders were by far the better side on display in the first two quarters, creating numerous scoring chances but what eluded them was goal.
The Waveriders created their first scoring chance in the fifth minute when they earned their first penalty corner but Rupinder Pal Singh’s try was saved by UP Wizards goalkeeper PR Sreejesh.
UP Wizards, on the other hand, boast of strong forwardline but the likes of Ramadeep Singh and Akashdeep Singh were not as sharp as the team’s coach Roger van Gent would have liked them to be.
Two minutes into the second quarter, UP Wizards’ Ramandeep Singh was denied by an alert Waveriders goalie Devon Manchester.
UP Wizards were not to be denied long as skipper VR Raghunath scored from their first set piece in the 19th minute.
In the final two minutes of the second quarter, Waveriders wasted as many as seven penalty corners, six of which came in succession to go into the breather trailing 0-1.
Minutes after the change of ends, UP Wizards got three penalty corners in quick time but they failed to capitalize on the opportunities.
The hosts then earned three more penalty corners but the script remained the same.
Chinglensana then scored a fine reverse hit goal before Dwyer found the back of Waveriders net from the right corner to make the scoreline 5-0 with five minutes remaining in the game.
But Waveriders tried to forge a dramatic comeback through two field strikes from Reid-Ross and Talwinder to give some anxious moments for the Wizards defence.
In fact, Waveriders purposefully stopped their 11th penalty corner out the circle to convert it into field play from which Talwinder scored.