HIL 2016: UP survives late surge from Delhi to register second win of season.
Avenging the 1-3 home loss they suffered at the hands of Delhi Waveriders in the reverse match on January 23, Uttar Pradesh Wizards defeated the home team 6-4, in what was Delhi’s first home match of the season on Monday.
With an opportunity to join defending champions Ranchi Rays at the top of the table, Delhi Waveriders coach Cedric D'Souza opted for a 4-3-3 formation, a change from their defensive-minded 5-2-3.
Uttar Pradesh Wizards, who have been going through a poor run with only one win from the four games, banked their hopes on penalty corner specialists VR Raghunath and Gonzalo Piellat.
Uttar Pradesh Wizards dominated the game from the start, but failed to score past Devon Manchester in the Delhi goal. Similar to the last game between the two, which was won 3-1 by Delhi, UP Wizards had all the chances in the opening quarter with only the end product evading the team coached by Roger Van Gent.
With penalty corner specialists like VR Raghunath, Gonzalo Piellat and Rupinder Pal Singh on the show, a goal was sure to come, and it finally arrived in the second quarter with Raghunath opening the scoring for the UP Wizards from a penalty corner. A strong push from Ramandeep Singh found Raghunath in the second battery, and the veteran expertly swept it to the left of Devon Manchester in the Delhi goal to put his team in the lead.
Delhi pushed in search of the equalizer and nominated their main man Rupinder Pal Singh to deliver from the penalty corners. Five penalty corners in a row came Delhi's way, but Rupinder Pal’s efforts for a goal were thwarted by acrobatic saves from PR Sreejesh to keep the score at 1-0 going into the break.
At the end of the second quarter, UP led the possession 54%-46% and circle entries 17-11 and raced out of their blocks for the third quarter winning two penalty corners in the initial minutes. Poor trapping and goalie Devon Manchester's heroics stopped the home team from going further beyond with their forwards tightly marked at the other end.
With Delhi pushing everyone in search of the goal, opportunities opened in front of the away team and they took it with both hands with Chingelsana Singh and Jamie Dwyer pumping in field goals. An Argentinian backhand from Chingelsana and a calm finish from Jamie Dwyer finished off the home team’s hopes with UP leading 5-0.
UP, who had conceded 17 goals in the last three matches, seemed hell bent on keeping a clean sheet with Sreejesh denying Delhi any chance of a goal. Sreejesh, who denied Delhi from nine penalty corners was finally beaten in the dying minutes with Justin Reid Ross beating the custodian with a reverse shot from inside the shooting circle.
Gonzalo Peillat increased UP’s lead to 6-2 in the final five minutes from a penalty corner to beat Prabjot Singh in the goal, who came as a replacement for Devon Manchester in the final quarter. Talwinder Singh pulled one straight pack to cut the lead back to two through a field goal, but it proved to be too late as UP survived the final minutes to earn their second win of the season, ending a three-match winless streak.