Waveriders beat Wizards 4-3
Posted on Feb 08 2014 | IANS
Lucknow, Feb 8 : The Delhi Waveriders continued their impressive run in the second edition of the Hockey India League (HIL) by beating hosts Uttar Pradesh Wizards 4-3 to extend their lead at the top of the table at the Major Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium here Saturday.
The two teams had finished 1-1 in their previous encounter in New Delhi and it turned out to be an exciting game as it rained goals throughout the match, much to the delight of the spectators.
The Sardar Singh-led Waveriders, who finished runners-up in 2013, showed why they are considered one of the favourites and pumped in as many as four goals in the opening 20 minutes to stun the hosts.
The visitors opened the scoring in the eighth minute through a field goal by Talwinder Singh before Rupinder Pal Singh (14th minute) converted a penalty corner to take a 2-0 lead in the first quarter.
The second quarter unfolded on similar lines as the Waveriders scored two more goals to extend their advantage. Man of the match Simon Child (19th, 20th) scored two goals in a span of two minutes to rattle the home team. While the New Zealand striker's first goal came from a field effort, the next came via penalty corner.
Uttar Pradesh Wizards, however, did not give up and produced a spirited fight back to find the opposition net thrice in the last two quarters and keep their hopes alive.
Nikkin Thimmaiah (30th) scored the first goal for the hosts from a field strike before skipper V.R. Raghunath (38th) converted a penalty corner as the Wizards went into the final quarter trailing 2-4.
Legendary Dutchman Teun de Nooijer scored another field goal for the Wizards to bring back life into the match. Thereafter, the hosts pressed hard for the equaliser with persistent attacks but the Waveriders' defence stood tall to ensure five points from the game.
The win consolidated the Waveriders position at the top of the standings with 29 points from eight games while the Wizards continue to occupy fourth spot with 15 points from six matches.
In their next match, the Delhi team will play defending champions Ranchi Rhinos at their home ground Feb 12 while the Wizards will host debutants Kalinga Lancers here Sunday.
"It was a tight match. The team played extremely well in the first half but somehow we let the guard down in the second. We lost possession of the ball too many times and the opponents punished us for it but finally we won and it's a happy moment for us," Waveriders head coach Cedric D'Souza said.
Speaking on the performance of his team, Wizards coach Roelant Oltmans admitted that his team made errors.
"There were gaps in our defence in the beginning which gave Delhi Waveriders the lead. We tried to come back in the second half but by that time it was too late," said Oltmans.