Ranchi Rhinos defeated Uttar Pradesh Wizards on penalty shoot-out to claim the third place in the second edition of Hero Hockey India League (HHIL) at the Astroturf Hockey Stadium in Ranchi today. Seen enjoying the tough tussle between both the teams for a win were eminent dignitaries – Sudesh Mahato, Former Dy CM, Jharkhand and President, Jharkhand Hockey Federation and Dilip Tirkey, Member Rajya Sabha.
Ranchi Rhinos eked out a hard-fought 3-2 win over UP Wizards in the shoot-out after both the teams were locked at 1-1 at regulation time. It was a drab first half as both the teams failed to live up to the expectations.
Ranchi Rhinos had the first real scoring chance when they earned their first penalty corner but it went abegging. UP Wizards were slow to get off the blocks but made use of the first penalty corners, which was beautifully converted by V R Raghunath in the 15th minute. The Rhinos, however, drew level in the second quarter through a fine solo field goal from Manpreet Singh in the 30th minute to go into the breather locked at 1-1.
In the second half both Ranchi Rhinos and UP Wizards made some impressive forays but their efforts failed to materialize into goals. UP Wizards had the best of the opportunity to surge ahead through their second penalty corner of the match in the 68th minute but wasted the chance as both the teams failed to break the deadlock in the regulation 70 minutes.
In the shoot-out, Ranchi Rhinos scored from three one-on-one situations while the Wizards could find the back of the net just twice. Ranchi Rhinos, who were the champions in the inaugural edition of the tournament last year, pocketed home Rs.75,00,000 a purse by finishing at the third spot.
YES Bank Garv Award winner – VR Raghunath
Man of the Match – Birendra Lakra
Hero Goal of the Match Award – Manpreet Singh
Speaking post the match Roelant Oltmans, Head Coach UP Wizards said “Happy with the team’s performance today. We had a lot of circle penetration and lot of ball positions. But luck was on their side which reflects through the final score. .”
Speaking on the team’s performance Gregg Clark, Head Coach, Ranchi Rhinos said “It was a great win today. This season we had many injuries which started from the early stage of the League and it feels nice that we still made it to the semi-finals. The team played well today for the bronze title.”