The defending Champions, and league toppers, Ranchi Rays today displayed their class defeating Uttar Pradesh Wizards 6-0 in Ranchi. This was the home team’s fourth consecutive win on their home ground, and they became the first team to book a place in the semi-final of the Hockey India League 2016.
The hosts and defending Champions Ranchi Rays who had been unbeaten so far on home turf started their campaign against Uttar Pradesh Wizards on an attacking note. The first quarter saw the hosts playing most of the game either on the midfield or in the Wizards circle.
However, the defence line of the Wizards along with star goalkeeper PR Sreejesh showcased their class beautifully spoiling all the efforts from the Ranchi Rays to score. An occasional move that Uttar Pradesh Wizards managed to create on the counter was disrupted even before they could enter the hosts circle. A goalless first quarter led the teams into the second quarter.
The second quarter was no different from the first and was majorly dominated by Ranchi Rays. The Rays pressed hard to score and managed to find gaps too from within the defensive line of the Wizards but some outstanding saves from PR Sreejesh crashed all their hopes on taking a lead. Ranchi Rays who managed to get five penalty corners alone in the second half (three back-to-back) and could not capitalise on any of the opportunities due to some scintillating saves from PR Sreejesh and the Wizards defenders.
The first half which was full of action also saw the Uttar Pradesh Wizards making a few attempts but the Ranchi Rays defensive deadlock was way too strong to be broken. The second quarter also came to an end without any goals being scored in the match.
The third quarter began with the visitors getting more aggressive and made a few attempts to score but were unsuccessful to break through the Ranchi defenders. Ranchi Rays on the counter made some quick attacking moves and finally tasted success in the 40th minute through a spectacular field goal from Flynn Ogilvie giving the hosts an extremely hard fought lead of 2-0 in the game. Uttar Pradesh Wizards tried hard to equalise post this but the hosts denied them any opportunities to score.
The third quarter finished with the score board reading 2-0 in Ranchi Rays favour. The final quarter of the game started with Ranchi Rays pressing hard to add on to their lead but the Wizards put up a commendable defence not allowing them to score.
It was in the 47th minute when the hosts scored their second field goal through Ashley Jackson, who gave Ranchi a very comfortable 4-0 lead in the game. Uttar Pradesh Wizards tried extremely hard to score, but the Ranchi Rays defensive wall was too strong for the visitors, denying them any opportunities to score.
The hosts sealed the game to their name in the 59th minute through their field goal from Sumit Kumar giving Ranchi Rays a massive 6-0 win over Uttar Pradesh Wizards.
The Coal India Goal of the Match award of INR 50,000 was presented by Shri Arbind Prasad, Chief Vigilance Officer, CCL to Sumit Kumar of Ranchi Rays while his team mate Mohd. Amir Khan walked away with the Most Entertaining Player of the Match award. Sumit Kumar from Ranchi Rays won the Man of the Match award of INR 50,000 while his team mate Imran Khan won the Hero Emerging Player of the Match award of INR 25,000.