New Delhi, 18 February 2015: Playing their last game in the pool phase, both Delhi Waveriders and Uttar Pradesh Wizards were looking at a morale boost with another win in their kitty. While each was vying for a win, the clash ended in a 3-3 draw. Both teams have entered the semi finals and will aim to book their place in the Finale of the Hero Hockey India League 2015.
Just five minutes into the game Delhi Waveriders managed their first penalty corner and Rupinder Singh had the chance to take the early lead for his team but Sreejesh saved effortlessly and averted the danger. Delhi Waveriders again attacked when a good pass by Sardar Singh in the D was hit at the nets by Gurwinder Chandi but Sreejesh made a brilliant save again denying the home team the goal. Just seconds left for the quarter to end, Uttar Pradesh Wizards bagged their first penalty corner of the day but was not taken cleanly and hence the team was unable to capitalize on the opportunity. The quarter ended 0-0 with both teams yet to open their scores.
Uttar Pradesh got their second chance of a penalty corner in the 20th minute and Raghunath made no mistake in ensuring that he hit it past the goalie and into the nets. With the goal the scorecard opened 1-0 in favor of the visiting team. The second half was dominated by Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the entire session as they kept the pressure on Waveriders by penetrating through their defence, but unfortunately were unable to capitalize on the opportunities during the entire session. With no further goals scored the first half ended 1-0 with Delhi Waveriders trailing.
In the 34th minute Pardeep Mor from the right flank hit hard to Jeroen Hertzberger standing right in front of the D and who made an easy flick into the nets leaving the Delhi goalie stunned and no chance to react. This helped Uttar Pradesh take the lead further. With 2-0 on the board Delhi Waveriders attacked and half way into the quarter Gurwinder Chandi from the baseline passed the ball to Lloyd Norris Jones standing right in front of the goalkeeper. There was no defence between them, hence a clear chance for him to open the score, but he missed it. Minutes left into the quarter, Uttar Pradesh Wizards got their third penalty corner, but this time Raghunath was wide of the goal. In the 45th minute it was Delhi’s chance to convert through a penalty corner and Andrew Hayward ensured he hit the ball past Sreejesh and helped his team open its account. At the end of the quarter the score stood at 2-1 with the Wizards leading.
The fourth quarter saw the game changing gears as three back to back goals were scored in a matter of three minutes. The equalizer goal for Delhi Waveriders came in the 51st minute when Matt Ghodes entered the D with the ball, beating two defenders before he hit the ball past Sreejesh taking score to 2-2. The next minute the Delhi Waveriders took the lead in the game with Simon Child scoring a brilliant field goal and the scorecard stood at 3-2. Going immediately into the attack Uttar Pradesh got a chance to equalize in the 53rd minute through a penalty corner and VR Raghunath was on target and the ball found the nets taking the score to 3-3. With seven minutes left it was any ones game from here. Both the teams tried taking the lead in the game but failed to add any further goals to their tally and the game ended in a draw 3-3.
Man of the Match, VR Raghunath, Uttar Pradesh Wizards said “It was important for us to create opportunities in the form of penalty corners and ensuring that we converted them into goals. It was equally necessary we equalized post the defence lapse in the third quarter and I am happy we bounced back.”
Speaking on the team’s performance Cedric D’Souza, Head Coach, Delhi Waveriders said “The most important thing for us was to enter the semi-finals in a winning momentum which did not happen today. The opponents had a lot of counter attacks in the beginning. I am very happy with the team’s performance today. We made a couple of mistakes and we will work on them and come out as a solid unit.”
Hero Goal of the Match – Matt Gohdes, Delhi Waveriders
Man of the Match – V R Raghunath, Uttar Pradesh Wizards
February 19, 2015, 19.00hrs IST – Jaypee Punjab Warriors vs Dabang Mumbai (Mohali)
The match will be telecast LIVE on Star Sports