Striker Mandeep Singh scored two beautiful field goals as Delhi Waveriders produced their best performance of the tournament so far to spank Uttar Pradesh Wizards 8-1 and register their first win in the fifth edition of the Hockey India League, in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Mandeep found the net in the fourth and 30th minutes while Parvinder Singh (56th) and Austin Smith (58th) also scored from field efforts late into the game to hand Waveriders the handsome victory at the Shivaji Stadium.
UP Wizards’ lone goal came from the sticks of skipper VR Raghunath, who converted one of the five penalty corners they secured in the game.
By virtue of this win, the Waveriders jumped to the fifth position in the six-team tournament while UP Wizards slumped to the bottom of the standings.
It was action-packed first quarter with both the teams displaying attacking hockey, which in turn resulted in goals.
Unlike their previous matches, the Waveriders came out of their shell from the onset and attacked the opposition goal.
Their efforts bore fruit as early as in the fourth minute when Mandeep Singh found the back of UP Wizards net past star goalkeeper PR Sreejesh with a strong reverse hit after receiving an open pass from Satbir Singh to go 2-0 up as according to the new scoring rules of the tournament one field strike is counted as two.
The Waveriders soon earned two penalty corners but both the opportunities went wasted.
Relatively quite in the first 10 minutes, the UP Wizards made a comeback into the game towards the end of the first quarter. They pressed hard on the Waveriders defence and in the process secured three penalty corners in quick succession, the last of which was converted by skipper VR Raghunath in the 14th minute to reduce the margin to 2-1.
In the second quarter the first real scoring chance went to UP Wizards Ramandeep Singh in the 22nd minute but he shoot straight into the body of Waveriders goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch from close range.
The UP Wizards then soon earned their fourth penalty but Waveriders custodian Vanasch came up with a brilliant save to deny Raghunath.
But just at the stroke of half time the Waveriders extended their lead to 4-1 through another field strike from Mandeep.
Up Wizards goalkeeper Sreejesh pulled off a fine save to deny Manuel Brunet but Mandeep was at the right place at the right time to find the net from the resultant goalmouth melee.
In the third quarter, the UP Wizards took the initiative and attacked the Waveriders goal with more purpose. They managed three real scoring chances but failed to find the back of the net.
The Wizards secured two more penalty corners in the third quarter but both went abegging. In between Shamsher Singh was also denied by Waveriders goalkeeper Vanasch.
Towards the end of the quarter Mandeep came close to securing his hat-trick only to be denied by a brilliant save by an agile UP Wizards goalkeeper Sreejesh.
The UP Wizards went into an all out attack and it created spaces in their defence which the Waveriders utilised to the best of their ability to pump in two more field goals — first by Parvinder and then by Smith in quick succession.