Riding on Yuvraj Walmiki’s strike in the first quarter, Delhi Waveriders edged Uttar Pradesh Wizards by a solitary goal and progress to the final of the Hero Hockey India League (HHIL) at the Astroturf Hockey Stadium in Ranchi today.
Walmiki scored the lone goal of the match in the 15th minute to hand Delhi Waveriders a win in the first semifinal of HHIl 2014.
The opening semifinal between the Waveriders and Wizards witnessed a closed-fought battle as both the teams matched each other equally.
Delhi Waveriders had the first scoring chance of the match in the 12th minute when they earned a penalty corner but Rupinderpal Singh’s flick struck the wood work and went wide.
But soon Delhi Waveriders surged ahead through Yuvraj Walmiki, who pushed home a pass from Justin Reid-Ross.
In the second quarter, the Wizards earned a penalty corner but captain V R Raghunath try was deflected wide by an onrushing Rupinder.
Trailing by a goal, the Wizards came out attacking in the second half and managed to earn two penalty corners in the third quarter but on both the occasions Raghunath was off the mark.
UP Wizards continued to press hard in the final quarter in search of the equalizer and created a number of chances only to waste them.
Delhi Waveriders will play the winners of the second semifinal between Jaypee Punjab Warriors and defending champions Ranchi Rhinos in tomorrow’s final.
YES Bank Garv Award winner –Yuvraj Walmiki
Man of the Match – Rupinder Pal Singh
Hero Goal of the Match Award –Yuvraj Walmiki
Speaking on the win Cedric D’Souza, Head Coach, Delhi Waveriders said “it’s a happy moment for us today as we have won a tough match and qualifying for the finals is elating. Uttar Pradesh Wizards played good and put a lot of pressure on us. For the finals we will aim not to commit mistakes and we will go all out tomorrow. We have a very good team and we will use the experience judiciously tomorrow to create the right winning combination.
A satisfied Sardar Singh, Captain, Delhi Waveriders said “this platform gives us the opportunity to play with world’s best players and even gives budding talent to showcase their talent. I am hoping that with such initiatives Indian Hockey will go to newer heights. Tomorrow is an important day and we hope to lift the trophy”
Speaking post the match Reolant Oltmans, Head Coach Uttar Pradesh Wizards said “it’s disappointing that we lost the semi-final match today. It was a tough match today with Delhi Waveriders being equally strong. But what matters in the end is the score line. Today’s loss is because of the small errors that we committed but I think it is part of the game. It is difficult to keep the team motivated but we will aim to win tomorrow’s match”