Today, Ranchi Rays defeated Uttar Pradesh Wizards by 2-0, who will host Jaypee Punjab Warriors tomorrow at 1500 HRS in the third edition of Hero Hockey India League at Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in Lucknow. The win gave Ranchi Rays five points to take their tally to 14 points. They now share equal points with Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the pool standings.
Motivated with their victory in the last match played against Uttar Pradesh Wizards with a score of 3-2, Jaypee Punjab Warriors will be eyeing to bag their second consecutive win against the home team and further adding five points to its tally so as to retain its position in the points table. While the Jaypee Punjab Warriors has had a good run in the League till now, it aspires to keep the momentum running and will even be looking at going to the next level. Coached by Barry Dancer, the team will bring in the best skills of the trade not allowing the opponents to notch up from any of the scoring opportunities. On the other side, Coached by Roelant Oltmans, Uttar Pradesh Wizards is aiming to win the match against Punjab Warriors in order to make up for the previous loss.
Both the teams played attacking hockey from the first minute and tried to create chances in each other’s halves. While, Ranchi Rays went on with full enthusiasm and dominated the whole game, Uttar Pradesh Wizards failed to open their scoring account throughout the game.
The Ashley Jackson led Ranchi Rays had the first scoring chance when Trent Mitton had a fantastic strike-past against Sreejesh and pumped in a beautifully crafted field goal in the 13thminute of the game. Uttar Pradesh Wizards goalkeeper PR Sreejesh made some remarkable saves in the welcome stages of the game but the visiting team stood successful in finding the gap and put their ball in the net. By the end of the first quarter, Ranchi Rays had taken the early lead with a score of 1-0 on the board.
Both Ranchi Rays and Uttar Pradesh Wizards made some impressive forays but their efforts failed to materialize into goals. Consequently, the second quarter of the match saw a dry run as both the teams did a good job in defending and restricting each other from doing any damage, leaving the scoreboard to 1-0.
Moving towards the third quarter of the game, the teams continued to display brilliant stick skills, however it was Ranchi Rays that turned the match in their favour when Mandeep Singh surged ahead and scored a goal in 42nd minute through a field effort further advancing the lead to 2-0.
Both the teams made desperate efforts and tried to keep the possession of the ball not letting the other team to convert any scoring opportunities. As the time neared the end, neither of the teams was able to score. Ranchi Rays asserted a proud win and white-washed Uttar Pradesh Wizards by 2-0 at the home of Wizards in Lucknow.
Appreciating the team’s performance Head Coach of Ranchi Rays, Harendra Singh said, “The team has been playing a fair game till now in the league and we were expecting favourable results today. Fortunately, we won the match. Looking at the intensity of the matches in this season none of the teams in the league can be considered weak and this year’s edition of Hero HIL is turning out to be the most competitive one till date. Our man to man marking was well in place and our goalkeeper Lovell Tyler also did a good job in the match today. Today’s match seemed to be more like Ranchi Rays Vs. PR Sreejesh. We will try and carry this form in the upcoming matches as well.“
Speaking on the loss Head Coach of Uttar Pradesh Wizards, Roelant Oltmans said, “Ranchi Rays was a well organized side in the match today and played well during the entire match. We tried to chase them down and but failed to do so. The team did not perform as per the planned execution and therefore we lost the match. We had good opportunities but could not convert them into goals. Sreejesh did a really good job and saved a lot of goals.”
With an aim to win the match tomorrow, Jaypee Punjab Warriors Captain Jamie Dwyer said, “I am very impressed with the way our team has been performing. Our defense skills are a huge strength for us. We have improved with every game and are a much better team now. We have sustained a great momentum since the starting of the League and we look forward to keep that same momentum going in the matches ahead.”
Speaking on the team’s performance and future in the League, Coach Barry Dancer of Jaypee Punjab Warriors said, “The team looks pretty confident on the recent win against the Uttar Pradesh Wizards. Although, the opponents have an added advantage of playing on the home ground, we will strive to get the best of our skills on the field. We all know it will be a tough match as the level of the competition is building up but we are much focused and will give our best shot and go all out to grab the win.”
Uttar Pradesh Wizards will play against Jaypee Punjab Warriors on 04 February 2015 at 1500 HRS IST at Dhyan Chand Stadium, Lucknow. The match will be telecast LIVE on Star Sports.
Hero Goal of the Match- Trent Mitton (Ranchi Rays)
Man of the Match- PR Sreejesh (Uttar Pradesh Wizards)