Rhinos score narrow win over Wizards

Defending champions Ranchi Rhinos eked out a close 2-1 win over Uttar Pradesh Wizards to consolidate their position in the points table of the Hero Hockey India League (HHIL) at the Dhyan Chand Stadium on Saturday.

The Rhinos were, by far, the better side on display as they dominated the proceedings from start to finish and enjoyed the better share of ball possession.

The Rhinos outplayed the Wizards in terms of circle penetration as well as they made inroads into the hosts’ citadel 21 times as compared to their opponents’ nine attempts.

To sum up, it was a close contest between the two finest teams of the tournament, but it was the Rhinos who utilised the chances that came their way.

The Rhinos took the lead through star English drag-flicker Ashley Jackson, who converted a penalty corner in the 18th minute.

The Wizards had their chances in the match but the forward line, led by Ramandeep Singh, failed to cash in on the opportunities.

Another Englishman Barry Middleton (26th minute) doubled the Rhinos’ lead with a field goal in the second quarter as the visitors’ went into the halfway break with a comfortable 2-0 advantage.

At the change of ends, the Wizards adopted an aggressive approach and created a few bright openings but the Rhinos defense led by captain Moritz Furste stood like a rock to thwart any danger to their citadel.

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