Mohali, 26 January 2015: With a remarkable victory in the last match against Kalinga Lancers, host Jaypee Punjab Warriors continued their impressive run in the third edition of Hero Hockey India League (HHIL) and drubbed Uttar Pradesh Wizards 3-2 at the Hockey Stadium in Mohali today.
Keeping alive the hopes of the home fans, Jaypee Punjab Warriors were by far the better side on display as they dominated the match from the beginning to the end.
The Uttar Pradesh Wizards seized the early initiative and opened the scoring in the 7th minute through VR Raghunath, who successfully converted the penalty corner with a powerful flick to get his first goal of this edition. The battle of the penalty corners was on, when Jaypee Punjab Warriors’s Varun Kumar went down hard and sneaked in a goal which came through the penalty corner in the 12th minute, equalizing the score by 1-1 by the end of the first quarter.
Both the teams managed hard to keep the possession of the ball with them trying to take hold of the opportunities that came their way.
Moving ahead in the game, it was SV Sunil of Jaypee Punjab Warriors who doubled the lead by 2-1 and ducked into the opponent’s D in the 28th minute. With the end of the second quarter, the Jaypee Punjab Warriors was leading by 2-1 against Uttar Pradesh Wizards.
At the change of ends, the Wizards adopted an aggressive approach and created a few bright openings but the Warriors’ defence led by Captain Jamie Dwyer stood like a rock to thwart any danger. The third quarter of the game witnessed a lot of action and both the teams showcased brilliant stick work managing to create a space in each other’s D.
Without any mistake, Sandeep Singh flicked the ball inside the net and got his fourth goal of the Hero Hockey India 2015 through a penalty corner conversion in the 42nd minute. In the midst of absorbing the pressure of Jaypee Punjab Warriors’ high scoring, Uttar Pradesh Wizards went into the fourth quarter trailing by 1-3.
While the Warriors seemed to be more physically and mentally robust as the game neared the end, Wizards did not give up hope and produced a spirited fight back when VR Raghunath surged ahead and scored from a penalty corner in the 53rd minute, taking the scores to 3-2.
In the dying minutes of the game, Uttar Pradesh Wizards kept their game alive as they got several opportunities of equalizing the scores, but unfortunately failed to convert any opportunity. It was Jaypee Punjab Warriors who effectively managed to pocket the contest in their favour and won against Uttar Pradesh Warriors with 3-2 on the score board.
Speaking post the second consecutive win Jaypee Punjab Warriors’ Captain Jamie Dwyer said, “We are happy that we bagged yet another win today. I will rate our first and the last quarter as the ones which helped us with this win. In the second and third quarter we missed many opportunities and so the opponents missed a number of passes. Our target for the next match is to get our defence circle stronger and figure out more scoring opportunities and converting them.”
Speaking post the loss, Uttar Pradesh Wizards’ Captain VR Raghunath said, “We were unlucky today. I think we finished badly and missed opportunities that came our way. It was a tough match today and we made a lot of mistakes. Our defence circle needs to be more powerful. From next match we will aim at putting pressure on the opponents and our forwards will have to score along with converting the penalty corners. I am happy with the penalty corner conversion today as converted 2 out of the 4 that we go.”
Hero Goal of the Match – SV Sunil (Jaypee Punjab Warriors)
Man of the Match – Jaap Stockman (Jaypee Punjab Warriors)
28 Jan 2015 (Ranchi) – 1900 HRS RR vs DM