It was an important clash between the Uttar Pradesh Wizards and the Delhi Waveriders as a win would ensure a semi-final spot in the fifth edition of the Coal India Hockey India League. But as it turned out, both teams were determined not to lose, thus ending the match in a 1-1 draw in an evenly fought contest.
The first quarter saw the Delhi Waveriders make a strong start with some excellent counter-attacking skills, creating a lot of chances with brave forays into the circle. They won two early PCs but Uttar Pradesh Wizards’ goalkeeper P.R Sreejesh was rock solid at the post as he made four important saves in the first 15 minutes of the match resulting in both teams going into the first break in a stalemate. Sreejesh's efforts eventually won him the Man of the Match award.
Delhi Waveriders skipper Rupinder Pal Singh finally found a breakthrough when he converted his team’s third attempt at a PC in the 22nd minute. The ball, struck low and hard, beat Sreejesh to give them a 1-0 lead. Uttar Pradesh Wizards, though, were quick to earn a PC almost immediately but a missed trap seemed like they lost the opportunity.
A quick-thinking Raghunath, however, asked for a foot-foul through a video referral which went in their favour and earned his team their second PC. Uttar Pradesh Wizards eventually equalised through a penalty stroke in the 22nd minute which was successfully converted by Gonzalo Peillat.
Though the Uttar Pradesh Wizards found an opportunity to take a 2-1 lead in the 26th minute through a PC, Peillat’s flick was far and wide from the post. The first half was dominated by the Delhi Waveriders with better ball possession but the Uttar Pradesh Wizards were clinical in their approach as they recorded more circle entries.
The Wizards came back stronger in the third quarter, dominating the ball possession but Delhi Waveriders showed determination with good defence keeping their opponents from scoring. In the 41st minute, Waveriders won a PC but Sreejesh was in perfect nick when he padded away Rupinder Pal Singh’s strongly struck flick. Delhi Waveriders’ goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch too was kept busy throughout the quarter but he showed class with his alert goalkeeping skills.
A thriller of a finish was in the offing as the score read 1-1 ahead of the final quarter. The Uttar Pradesh Wizards continued to dominate with the ball possession but the pressure caught on as a foul by the Wizards’ Chinglensana Singh gave away a PC in the dying minutes of the match. But a poor trap denied Delhi Waveriders a goal and the match ended in a stalemate.
Gonzalo Peillat of Uttar Pradesh Wizards was awarded a prize money of Rs 50,000 for scoring the Coal India Goal of the Match from Mr. G.K Vashisht, General Manager, Sales & Marketing, Coal India Ltd.
Arthur van Doren of Uttar Pradesh Wizards won the prize of Rs 25,000 for being the Hero Young Achiever of the Match from Mr. Ajit Pal Singh, Olympian.
The Airtel Most Entertaining Player of the Match was awarded to Akashdeep Singh of Uttar Pradesh Wizards that came with a prize money of Rs 25,000 and was presented by Ms. Elena Norman, CEO, Coal India Hockey India League.
PR Sreejesh of Uttar Pradesh Wizards was declared the Man of the Match and was awarded a prize money of Rs 50,000 by Mrs. Priyanka Raina, Co-Owner Uttar Pradesh Wizards.
On 20th February, Uttar Pradesh Wizards will take on Jaypee Punjab Warriors at the Shivaji Stadium in New Delhi at 19:00 hrs. Matches will be shown live on Star Sports 2 & HD 2 and Star Sports 3 & HD 3 and live streamed on Hotstar.comPublished 19 Feb 2017, 21:56 IST