Waveriders fall to Wizards

Waveriders fall to Wizards

Delhi side suffers first defeat

Uttar Pradesh Wizards inflicted a crushing 4-1 defeat on Delhi Waveriders, their first defeat in the Hockey India League, at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Thursday.

The result ensured that Waveriders would now meet Jaypee Punjab Warriors in the semifinals while Wizards would be up against Ranchi Rhinos.

It was the last league match for Waveriders, whose unbeaten run had only two drawn matches — one against Rhinos and other the Wizards. Had they won on this day, one of the semifinals would have been the repeat of this match.

Waveriders, though, would continue to top the table with 49 points while Wizards had moved up to third place with 32 points after this victory. After a goalless first-half, Wizards struck in the second half through Jeroen Hertzberger( 39th minute), S. Uthappa (49th), Somanna Pudiyokkada (56th) and Gunasekar Malayalan (64th). The Waveriders pulled one back through Andrew Hayward (64th) and that was all they could muster in the match.

It was an attacking start by Wizards, who literally parked themselves at the Waveriders’ half throughout the first session. The Waveriders’ defence line was relentlessly tested and their goalkeeper Nicolas Jacobi kept on his toes.

Barring a handful of forays, Waveriders were pushed to the defensive with Hertzberger and Thimmaiah kept breathing down their necks with sporadic runs to the goal. Wizards’ efforts awarded them two penalty corners but Waveriders averted the danger both the time. The first attempt was brilliantly saved by Jacobi when he dived to his left to block Luke Doerner’s strike while the second ended feebly. If the first half was all about efforts, the second was about results.
And it was Wizards, who returned even stronger. In the opening minutes of the second half, Hertzberger breached the defence with a solo run to score by a reverse hit. Uthappa shortly took the visitors up 2-0. Hertzberger once again dashing from the midfield sent pass to Thimmaiah inside the circle. Thimmaiah missed but an alert Uthappa pounced on the ball to reverse flick into the goal.

Waveriders’ had barely recovered from the setback when in a perfect counter-attack by Somanna, who ran through a near empty Waveriders’ defence to slid the ball past Jacobi. The home side reduced the margin through a penalty corner, converted on their third attempt by Andrew Hayward, but the solace was didn’t last. Malayalan scored the fourth goal for Wizards to complete the Waveriders’ misery.

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