Waveriders thrash Wizards 3-0, remain unbeaten
Lucknow, Feb 3 : A clinical all-round display helped Delhi Waveriders maintain their supremacy in the Hero Hockey India League by beating Uttar Pradesh Wizards 3-0 at Dhyan Chand Astroturf Stadium here Sunday.
Andres Mir Bel, Simon Child and Gurwinder Singh Chandi helped Waveriders, the league's only unbeaten team, to earn full five points.
The win took Waveriders' tally to 44 points, and they are not guaranteed to finish on top of the points table at the end of the league stage.
Waveriders' win also kept Dabur Mumbai Magicians' hopes of making the cut for the semi-finals alive.
It's clear now that the race for the fourth spot is going to be between Wizards and Magicians.
With Waveriders winning by three goals, Wizards were denied even one point, although they lead Magicians by eight points with two games to play.
Wizards kept coming at the visitors' defence regularly, but a strong midfield play, and a agile and alert defence denied them clear opportunities. And if at all Wizards' got through the midfield and defence, then there was Waveriders' wall Nicloas Jacobi to deny them.
Waveriders had a chance to go up 3-0 in the 28th minute, when Child and Akashdeep combined well to beat the entire Wizards' defence.
However, Akashdeep's deflected hit was saved well by Wizards' goalie Bazeley, and the hosts defence cleared the ball after that.
Visitors did eventually go 3-0 up a couple of minutes later though. Chandi struck a very hard hit from the top of the circle, and although Bazeley guessed it right and dived to his right, the pace on the shot was too much to handle for the Wizards' goalkeeper.
Leading by three goals going into second half, Waveriders focussed on keeping their shape, and denied Wizards any clear opportunities after the half time. After a slightly dull third quarter, Wizards through everything at the visitors, and earned as many as three penalty corners in the final quarter.
The first drag flick was taken by Raghunath, but Jacobi got it right to deny the Wizards' skipper. Next two were taken by Hertzberger, both in different styles, and Jacobi was once again there to deny hosts any celebrations.
Uttar Pradesh Wizards captain VR Raghunath said that their team failed to materialise the opportunities. "We did attack a lot but we could not change into goal while Delhi got less opportunity than us but they set the goal and whatever way they got they changed into goal, Delhi's goalkeeper played very well," Raghunath told to media persons at post-match press conference.