A match between Kalinga Lancers and Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the third edition of the Hero Hockey India League, played at the packed Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar today, witnessed the Wizards utilize best of the chances to beat the hosts by 2-0. Uttar Pradesh Wizards are now comfortably placed at the second position in the league table with 13 points, after Jaypee Punjab Warriors which is leading with 17 points in the League.
The first quarter of the match saw a tough challenge coming in from both Uttar Pradesh Wizards and hosts Kalinga Lancers. Both the teams were seen striving to make a break-through and take the lead in the match but the defence line-up at both ends held the fort strong and restricted each other from doing any damage. It was only in the 13th minute of the game when Bob De Voogd of Uttar Pradesh Wizards, sneaked his way into the host’s D and scored a field goal to give his team a much needed lead in the game.
Kalinga Lancers were seen playing an attacking game in the second quarter of the match and secured good opportunities to open their account in the match but failed to cash on the chances, as goalkeeper PR Sreejesh of Uttar Pradesh Wizards was at his best and foiled all the goal scoring opportunities of Kalinga Lancers. The game witnessed powerful attacks and counter-attacks raining from both the ends, but neither of the two could manage to secure a goal. By the end of the second quarter, the visiting team, Uttar Pradesh Wizards were in lead by 1-0 over the hosts, Kalinga Lancers.
Taking the adrenaline rush a notch higher in the third quarter of the match, Kalinga Lancers secured two penalty corner opportunities within minutes but could not get past PR Sreejesh acting as a wall before the goal post for Uttar Pradesh Wizards. The second goal of the match came from Uttar Pradesh Wizards’ Ramandeep Singh as he fired in a magnificent field goal in the 35th minute to double the lead to 2-0. Running short on luck as well, Kalinga Lancers failed to convert even a single goal out of the three back-to-back penalty corner opportunities they secured.
The fourth quarter of the match commenced with a lot of excitement as the game witnessed repeated referrals and penalty corner opportunities coming in from both the sides and turned out to be a dramatic one. Where the circle penetration rate of both the sides was almost similar by the fourth quarter, the defenders and the goalkeepers of both the teams were seen giving in their best to restrict the opponent team from causing any harm. Kalinga Lancers’ repeated efforts to score a goal in the match went in vain as the visiting team Uttar Pradesh Wizards secured a comfortable win over the hosts by 2-0.
Speaking on the win today, Head Coach Roelant Oltmans of Uttar Pradesh Wizards said, “Today our player played very well and winning is always exciting. With this win, our team’s position has got stronger in the League and players are highly motivated. Today’s Man of the Match PR Sreejesh has done a brilliant job by maintaining a clean sheet in the match, which is a big achievement for the whole team. Now, we are looking to seal a Semi-Final spot in the league and will work harder to reach the Final.”
Jude Felix, Head Coach, Kalinga Lancers said in a media briefing, “It is very disappointing for us to lose matches in a row. But we are not demoralised and we know our strength very well. If we compare our performance from last season, we are playing very well and giving good competition to our opponents. The main reason of today’s defeat was losing opportunities and we could not convert penalty corners into goals. But from here, our main objective will be keeping our position in the top four and make it to the Semi-Final of the League.”
Speaking on tomorrow’s match against Jaypee Punjab Warriors, Head Coach Jude Felix further added, “We know that Jaypee Punjab Warriors are a strong team and they are the table-toppers as of now. We need to work harder on our weakness so that we can give them a good fight. We will try to earn some points from tomorrow’s match to keep ourselves intact in the League. We are looking forward to tomorrow’s match.”
Hero Goal of the Match: Bob De Voogd (Uttar Pradesh Wizards)
Man of the Match: PR Sreejesh (Uttar Pradesh Wizards)