Delhi Waveriders, UP Wizards draw 3-3 in thrilling clash
New Delhi, February 18 (IANS) Playing their last game of the Hockey India League (HIL) pool phase, both Delhi Waveriders and Uttar Pradesh Wizards came out with brilliant performances to provide a thrilling and entertaining 3-3 draw to the fans at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here on Wednesday.
Though the match was an inconsequential tie with both teams already in the semi-finals, the Waveriders did not allow the Wizards to run away with a win and top the standings. Just five minutes into the game, the Waveriders earned the first penalty corner. Drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh had a good chance to give the hosts an early lead but Wizards custodian P.R. Sreejesh averted the danger with a brilliant stop.
The defending champions attacked soon again when an intelligent pass by Sardar Singh in the D was hit at the goal by Gurwinder Chandi but Sreejesh made another brilliant save, again denying the home team a goal. With just seconds left for the first quarter to end, the visitors bagged their first penalty corner but were unsuccessful in converting it.
The Lucknow-based team got their second chance in the 20th minute and drag-flicker V.R. Raghunath made no mistake in ensuring that he hit it past goalie Nicolas Jacob to give the Wizards the lead. Four minutes into the second half, Pardeep Mor, from the right flank, hit hard to Dutch Jeroen Hertzberger, who standing right in front of the goal put in the ball past the 'keeper to make it 2-0 for the visitors.
It was now or never for the home team. Nine minutes later it was Delhi's chance to convert when New Zealander Andrew Hayward ensured he hit the ball past Sreejesh in a penalty corner to end the third quarter trailing 1-2.
The fourth quarter saw the game changing gears as three back-to-back goals were scored within three minutes. Waveriders' equaliser came in the 51st minute when Matt Gohdes entered the D, beat two defenders before hitting the ball past Sreejesh.
The next minute the Waveriders took the lead for the first time in the game with Simon Child scoring a brilliant field goal. Immediately, into the counterattack, the Wizards got a chance to equalise in the 53rd minute through a penalty corner and Raghunath did not disappoint to make the score 3-3.
With seven minutes left it was any one's game. Both teams tried taking the lead but failed to add to the tally as the game ended in a draw.