Sandeep hat-trick goes in vain
Ace drag-flicker Sandeep Singh’s hat-trick went in vain as table toppers Delhi Waveriders eked out a 4-3 win over Mumbai Magicians in a thrilling round-robin match to continue their dream run in the Hockey India League (HIL) here on Saturday.
With this victory at the floodlit Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, the Waveriders have consolidated their position at the top of the league standings with 27 points from six games, five points ahead of second-placed Ranchi Rhinos.
On the other hand, the Magicians’ dismal campaign in the inaugural HIL continued as the Mumbai side slumped to their sixth consecutive defeat in the five-team event.
In spite of this loss, the Magicians are theoretically still in the hunt for a semifinal berth but they need something magical in their remaining six games to make it to the knock-out stage.
For the Waveriders, South African Lloyd Norris Jones scored two goals (12th and 22nd), while Imran Khan (6th) and Rupinder Pal Singh (51st) found target once each. Sandeep (28th, 56th, 66th) scored all the three goals for the Magicians from penalty corners.
Mandeep on song Earlier, Mandeep Singh struck twice to help Rhinos beat Uttar Pradesh Wizards 3-1 in Lucknow.
After the first three quarters failed to produce any goals, Mandeep scored twice, before Jeroen Hertzberger pulled one back for the hosts.
However, Tarandeep Singh struck in the final minute to put the game beyond Wizards, and ensure five full points for the Rhinos.
Both teams played very cautiously for most part of the game. By the end of the first quarter, the hosts had only one genuine good opportunity to score, when Raghunath’s drag-flick was well saved by Rhinos’ goalkeeper Francisco Cortes.
Wizards were dominating the play, but were unable to convert their moves into goals.