Clinical Ranchi Rays beat Uttar Pradesh Warriors despite PR Sreejesh heroics
The Ranchi Rays looked different, in both approach and intent, as they clinched a clinical 2-0 win over the Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the Hockey India League encounter at the Dhyan Chand Sports College to climb one place in the points table. PR Sreejesh, again, was the standout performer for the Wizards and made some stunning saves to keep the scoreline respectable. However, Sreejesh’s performance proved insufficient as he couldn’t prevent a loss, as Ranchi ripped apart Uttar Pradesh’s defence.
Ranchi started the game on a good note and made fine moves to create sharp chances, but couldn’t breach Sreejesh. They, however, managed to take the lead through Trent Mitton in the 13th minute of the match.
On a move started at the left flank, Mandeep Singh gave a weighted pass to Mitton, who made no mistake in firing the ball past Sreejesh. Ranchi headed into the second quarter with their tails up and came close to double their lead through Nick Wilson. Wilson went one-on-one with Sreejesh, on a counter attack, but India’s first choice goalkeeper pulled off a stunning save to keep Ranchi’s lead to just one goal. Sreejesh also made back-to-back saves in the final moments of the opening half.
The Wizards had their moments in the second half, but Ranchi goalkeeper Tyler Lovell was equally up for the task and denied the home team. An unlucky Bob De Voogd was left wondering, when his shot hit the post and it was the final time Uttar Pradesh came close to score.
Ranchi finally managed to double their lead, when Mandeep scored in the 42nd minute of the game. His reverse flick went into the goal, giving Sreejesh no chance whatsoever. Manpreet Singh could have added the third, but his shot was blocked by Sreejesh.
No more goals were scored in the match after Mandeep’s strike as Ranchi rounded up a comprehensive win. Uttar Pradesh, however, remained second on a better goal difference followed by Ranchi and the Delhi Waveriders.