Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Uttar Pradesh Wizards pip Dabur Mumbai Magicians 5-3

Uttar Pradesh Wizards seems to be mastering the art of ‘coming-from-behind’ – they showed it in no uncertain terms when they upset reigning champions Ranchi Rhinos in their tournament opener in Ranchi.

On Wednesday, they produced an encore, fighting back from being 0-2 down to script a superb 5-3 win over Dabur Mumbai Magicians in the 2nd Hero Hockey India League at the Mahindra Hockey Stadium in Mumbai. With their second straight win, Wizards now have 10 points from two games.

Earlier, backed by a vociferous home crowd, Dabur Mumbai Magicians called the shots early on and shot into the lead through drag-flicker Gurjinder Singh, who converted their first penalty corner in the 5th minute.

Stung by the early salvo, Uttar Pradesh Wizards pressed hard for the equalizer and even forced a penalty stroke. However they could not profit from that as Dabur Mumbai Magicians’ Irish goalkeeper David Harte pulled off a fine save to ensure his side held onto the 1-0 lead at the end of the opening quarter.

The Magicians consolidated the lead early in the second quarter when Australian striker Glenn Turner scored off a short corner rebound in the 19th minute.

The Wizards needed to summon desperate measures to stay in the match and Vokkaliga Raghunath did his side a big favour converting a PC to reduce the margin in the 27th minute.

The Roelant Oltmans-coached side, who appeared out of sorts in the opening exchanges, looked a transformed side in the third quarter, dominating possession even as the Magicians were pushed on the backfoot.

They were soon rewarded when Vokkaliga Raghunath converted another short corner in the 41st minute to make the scoreline 2-2. Unknown Indian youngster Siddharth gave Wizards the lead with a tap-in goal in the dying minutes of the third quarter. 

Vokkaliga Raghunath gave Wizards a two-goal cushion when he converted another PC early in the fourth quarter. The Magicians responded swiftly with Sarvanjit Singh reducing the margin off a PC attempt essayed by Gurjinder Singh.

But the Wizards again opened up a two-goal lead when SK Uthappa deflected home a pass from celebrated Dutch hitman Teun De Nooijer. Trailing 3-5, the Magicians had just more than ten minutes to make a match of it.

The UP outfit despite the rearguard action, were profligate in short corners converting only three from 11 PCs.
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