V.R. Raghunath drag-flicked two goals and came up with a stop-and-turn improvisation for a scoop into the roof as Uttar Pradesh Wizards won 5-3 against Mumbai Magicians in the Hero Hockey India League 2014. Siddharth Shankar and S.K. Uthappa chipped in with one opportunistic goal each.
It was the Wizards second win in as many games, building on unexpected success in the first away tie against defending champion Ranchi Rhinos. Raghunath’s three goals fetched him the Man-of-the-Match award, as well as the ‘best goal’ prize.
Mumbai Magicians slumped to its second defeat in a row, first on home turf at Mahindra stadium.
Two early goals roused tentative Wizards into action, bearing down on the Mumbai defence from various angles, allowing their captain to fire home.
Gurjinder got his name on the score sheet with a fluent drag-flick into the net and put the home team ahead in the 10th minute. The player rushed out to block Wizards’ first penalty corner and took the ball on his body.
Ireland’s David Harte, manning the goal for Mumbai, infused confidence with a reflex save off a Luke Doerner penalty stroke, stretching his right hand out to tip the ball away, as both sides stepped up the pace by the end of the first quarter.
Mumbai captain Glenn Turner made his presence felt with a swoop on goal, beating the custodian with a deft tap, taking advantage of an out of position Wizards’ defence following a penalty award.
Raghunath pulled one back for Wizards in the second quarter with a trademark drag-flick. The visitors forced a series of corners.
Raghunath enhanced his reputation with another strike after half-time, evading the first rusher and sounding the boards to the left. Sarvanjit shadowed Teun de Nooijer along the left flank, but Wizards pressed on from the right and kept winning corners against a harassed Mumbai defence.
Siddharth Shankar pulled his team ahead with a 50th-minute deflection.
Raghunath converted the 10th penalty corner earned by Wizards with a cheeky improvisation, steering clear of the rusher with a stop, followed by a turn to confuse the defence, scooping into the roof before the goalkeeper could react.
The Mumbai response was instant, earning a corner with a move down the left and Sarvanjit steered home a rebound after a Gurjinder attempt was blocked. S.K. Uthappa deflected in Wizards’ fifth goal (5-3), hugged de Nooijer and launched into celebration.
The result: Uttar Pradesh Wizards 5 (V.R. Raghunath 3, Siddharth Shankar, S.K. Uthappa) bt Mumbai Magicians (Gurjinder Singh, Glenn Turner, Sarvanjit Singh).