Defending champions Ranchi Rays today displayed their class and routed Uttar Pradesh Wizards 6-0 in a round robin match to seal their semifinal berth in the fourth edition of the Hockey India League, here today.
It was Ranchi Rays fourth consecutive win on home ground the Astro Turf Hockey Stadium.
With 32 points in their kitty from six win and three losses, Ranchi Rays are atop the leader board and are the first team to have booked a semifinal berth in the ongoing season of the HIL.
Ranchi Rays, who are unbeaten so far on home turf, started on an attacking note against the UP Wizards.
The first quarter saw the hosts playing most of their game either on the midfield or in the UP Wizards circle.
But the defence line of UP Wizards speaheaded by star goalkeeper PR Sreejesh stood tall to spoil all the efforts from of Ranchi Rays.
An occasional move that UP Wizards managed to create on the counter was disrupted even before they could enter the hosts circle as the first quarter ended goalless.
The second quarter was no different as it was majorly dominated by Ranchi Rays.
The hosts pressed hard to score and managed to find gaps too in the UP Wizards defensive line but for some outstanding saves from Sreejesh.
Ranchi Rays, who managed to get five penalty corners alone in the second half (three back-to-back), could not capitalise on a single one due to some scintillating saves from Sreejesh as both the teams failed to break the deadlock at half time.
The third quarter began with the visitors getting more aggressive and made a few attempts to score but were unsuccessful to break through the Ranchi defence.
On the counter, Ranchi Rays made some quick attacking moves and finally tasted success in the 40th minute through a spectacular field goal from Flynn Ogilvie to ensure a 2-0 lead as according to new scoring rules one field strike is counted as two.
In the fourth and final quarter, Ranchi Rays continued to press hard and tasted success once again in the 47th minute when the hosts scored their second field goal through skipper Ashley Jackson.
The hosts sealed the game in their favour in the 59th minute through another field strike which came from the sticks of from Sumit Kumar.