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Wizards share honours with Waveriders

A screamer: Delhi Waveriders’s Rupinderpal Singh, right, is elated after converting a penalty corner.

A screamer: Delhi Waveriders’s Rupinderpal Singh, right, is elated after converting a penalty corner.  

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The draw helps them keep their semifinal chances alive in the HIL

Uttar Pradesh Wizards was in the unenviable position of playing its home game against Delhi Waveriders at the latter’s home turf here on Sunday. The ongoing elections in UP have forced the team to play two of its five home matches here and the side needed to avoid a loss to keep its semifinal hopes alive. It did so, managing to draw 1-1 to keep the leaderboard.

Delhi was the more attacking of the two, but while its offence came in waves, UPW oscillated between attack and defence in bursts. One of those saw Surender Kumar controlling the ball all the way from Delhi’s half to put Niklas Wellen through, only to see it balloon offP.R. Sreejesh’s pads for a penalty corner. It was duly converted by Rupinderpal Singh in the 22nd minute.

Fifteen seconds after the restart, UPW got a penalty corner of its own. That was converted into a stroke when V.R. Raghunath’s goalbound shot hit Surender’s body on the goalline. Gonzalo Peillat made no mistake with it.

Delhi earned back-to-back penalty corners, but both Rupinderpal’s and Austin Smith’s shots were saved by UPW goalkeeper Sreejesh.

Sreejesh and Delhi custodian Vincent Vanasch were kept busy by the end-to-end game that saw both teams open up space and get the crosses in, only to be thwarted. Both saved at least three clear shots at goal, though Sreejesh had to work harder against the more enterprising Delhi strike duo of Junior World Cup teammates Parvinder and Mandeep.

Akashdeep Singh shouldered the burden of UPW’s attack and, instead of going for goals, set up Ajay Yadav, Ramandeep Singh and Agustin Mazzilli in better positions.

UPW coach Roelant Oltmans admitted that there were a few good scoring chances from either end, and a draw was a fair result. The fact that UPW has an extra game in hand compared to the rest might seem an advantage, but playing home games at an away venue was of no help, he insisted.

The result: Uttar Pradesh Wizards 1 (Gonzalo Peillat 1-PS) drew with Delhi Waveriders 1 (Rupinderpal Singh 1-PC).

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 7:28:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/Wizards-share-honours-with-Waveriders/article17331089.ece

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