Playing their first away match after a stellar show in Ahmedabad, Gujarat Fortunegiants continued their victory march with a thumping 35-21 win over Puneri Paltan in Lucknow. As it has been the case so far in the league, Fortunegiants defenders kept the game in their hold and didn’t let the experience of Deepak Niwas Hooda, Rajesh Mondal hamper their unbeaten run in the fifth edition of Pro Kabaddi.
“It is good for kabaddi lovers that a team playing its first season is putting up a great show. I wish we continue to deliver such performances. I also hope we see other teams step up to the occasion and play like Gujarat Fortunegiants have done so far,” said Gujarat Fortunegiants coach Manpreet Singh. “Fazel played exceptionally well and was supported by Abozar,” he added.
The Iranian dup of Fazrl Atrachali and Abozar Mighuani, who have been guarding Gujarat’s two corners, didn’t let Pune’s raiders escape from their aggressive play. In the 12th minute of the first half, Fortunegiants took down Deepak Niwas Hooda with Fazel’s strong ankle hold giving them a four point lead. “Both of them are experienced players and know each other very nicely. They are very well aware of each other’s tactics. Their combination is working for us,” Manpreet said.
It was just matter of time, that Fortunegiants defenders forced the first all-out of the match taking their score to 14-5. From there on, the Pune team couldn’t make a way back and at half time the score was 16-7.
While Pune managed to keep Gujarat’s ‘raiding machine’ Sachin Tawar quiet in the second half, Abozar in the right corner led the rout of Pune’s raiders. With three minutes remaining in the match, Abozar held Deepak’s right leg so firmly that the Pune captain could not make an escape from it. With Deepak taken off, Pune trailed 20-28 and were inflicted the second all-out by Pawan Sehrawat’s successful raid. When asked about his game strategy against his previous teammates, Fazel said, “I have played with Rajesh Mondal, Dharmaraj Cheralathan, Sandeep Narwal, Deepak Hooda and I know how they play. So, I had planned accordingly. I feel good after scoring nine points.”
Both teams possess strong defence and it was showcased as star raiders from either side could not score more than five points. Fazel, who suffered an injury in his right hand during Gujarat’s previous match, scored his seventh high 5. With this win, Gujarat are now on a seven match unbeaten run and top Zone A with 41 points.
UP Yoddha yet to open their account at home
Another night and another one to despair for Nitin Tomar and UP Yoddha as they succumbed to their fourth defeat at the hands of Bengal Warriors. As it has been the case for the debutants, last five minutes eventually turned the game into Warriors favour as the visitors registered a narrow 32-31 win in Lucknow. “It is unfortunate that we could not cross the line once again. Our defence gets nervous in the last moments and that is where we lose the game,” said Nitin.
According to UP coach Uday Kumar, his team had a plan to stop Jang Kun Lee and Maninder Singh. But it was Deepak Narwal’s Super 10 points that took the game away from the hosts. Nitin, who has been leading the Yoddha’s charge, scored eight points but his efforts went in vein as the defence once again fumbled in the last moments.
Lee and Deepak proved difficult to hold as Nitin and his men’s efforts were not enough for the hosts. Despite starting the game on an even note, Bengal team forced an all out in the final seconds of the first half to take a 19-14 lead at the break. In the second half, both the teams kept the scoreline intact while each and every point scored by the home team was cheered by the crowd. “We will definitely win the last two games. We want to win it for the home support we have received so far.”
Neither team was willing to give an inch with only three minutes to play. Warriors took a narrow lead with South Korean sensation Jang Kun Lee giving his side a two point lead. However, with Mahesh Goud, the UP team manage to make it 31-32 before Deepak made an empty raid to make sure that Bengal Warriors recorded their third win of the season.