Uttar Pradesh Wizards scored three minutes from time to realise a 4-3 win over host Kalinga Lancers in a Hockey India League match at the Kalinga Stadium on Thursday.
Nithin Thimmaiah, M. Gunasekar, Nikkin Thimmaiah scored in succession before Tushar Khandker realised the win for Wizards. Lalit Upadhyay, Gagandeep Singh and Gonzalo Peillat netted for Lancers.
The Wizards, who beat Lancers 3-1 at home in Lucknow barely four days ago, continued to hold the edge.
The team showed better organisation initially and went into the lead following a defensive error from the Lancers captain Prabodh Tirkey.
Tirkey sent a misdirected pass across his own goalmouth in the eighth minute just to see Wizards forward Nithin Thimmaiah stealing into the D to score with a cracking shot.
Wizards doubled the lead in the 17th minute following a penalty corner.
M. Gunasekar availed the rebound after the Lancers goalkeeper Harjot Singh had saved a drag-flick taken by Wizards’ captain V.R. Raghunath.Upadhyay’s brilliance
Lancers regrouped in the second quarter and worked more attacks to push the visitors into their own half. After a couple of attacks went waste, 19-year-old Lalit Upadhyay showed his class in the 25th minute.
The young forward collected a pass from Aron Zalweski, took a quick turn to steer clear of the Wizards defence, and finished with a sharp backhand hit.
The match came alive in the final quarter which saw four goals and a great return by the home side.
Wizards enhanced their lead to 3-1 in the 55th minute when Nikkin Thimmaiah sounded the board following another defensive error.
Instead of disintegrating, Lancers came alive after the goal and reduced the margin through Gagandeep Singh, who slotted home a pass from Upadhyay in the 57th minute.
Lancers made it 3-3 in the 60th minute when Argentine Gonzalo Peillat flicked home a penalty corner.
Just as a draw looked imminent, a defensive error cost Lancers dear.
Tushar Khandker found the goal in the 67h minute to realise five points for Wizards.
The result: UP Wizards 4 (Nithin Thimmaiah 8, M. Gunasekar 17, Nikkin Thimmaiah 55, Tushar Khandker 67) bt Kalinga Lancers 3 (Lalit Upadhyay 25, Gagandeep Singh 57, Gonzalo Peillat 60).