So far, no team has dominated their home leg in this season of Pro Kabaddi as Gujarat Fortunegiants. Telugu Titans and Bengaluru Bulls failed to dominate in their home leg and that trend seems to continue as UP Yoddha are struggling to get going at home. The debutants were brilliant in Ahmedabad and looked like they will be better at home. But it was not to be so.
The Nitin Tomar-led side went down 29-36 against Haryana Steelers. It turned out to be such a tight encounter that the scoreline till the 39th minute saw both the teams tied 29-29. However, it was Vikas Khandola’s brilliance in the last minute that inflicted the all out on UP Yoddha, taking a seven-point lead and turned the game in their favour. Also, with this, one could see the disappointed spectators leave the stadium despite with 40 seconds still remaining in the game.
While Nitin took the blame for their previous loss to U Mumba on himself, but tonight all he could do was to accept that he is not getting the much-needed support from his defenders. “There is a sudden need to work on our defence. We are letting the games slip off in the dying moments. Defenders are getting nervous in the final five minutes. We saw this in our last game too.We need to find a way to score points in do-or-die raids.”
While Nitin and Rishank Devadiga had a quiet night, it was Vikas and Surender Nada who caused most of the damage on the Lucknow-based team. The home side looked in command till the 36th minute before Rishank was taken down giving the Steelers a two-point lead. As the team registered their second win, Haryana coach Rambir Khokhar said this is the first time that the raiders played according to the plan. “Vikas and Wazir Shah played exceptionally well. We knew from the beginning that UP was under pressure.”
During the match, Nada and Haryana coach were not pleased with some of the referee’s decisions. Soon, Rambir was shown a green card for disturbing the game. When asked about the incident, Rambir said, “There are different types of kicks. Mule kick, front kick, side kick. We wanted to take a review but were not allowed to do so. After seeing the highlights, I would say it was Wazir’s mistake. It was a foul! Nevertheless, I am satisfied with today’s performance.”
Nada, who is Haryana’s poster boy in their debut season, brought up his fifth High 5 in as many games. Ahead of the match, Nada had said that Mohit Chhillar and his combination has not been up to the mark. But, after their impressive show against the home team, the 27-year old left-corner specialist said that as senior players Mohit and he should try to spend more time on the mat as they can exert pressure on opponent’s raiders. “We need to make sure that we (Nada, Mohit) both spend more time on the mat,” Nada concluded.