Uttar Pradesh Wizards made it to the semi-finals of Hockey India League after an exciting 4-4 draw with Dabang Mumbai.
Uttar Pradesh Wizards will take on Kalinga Lancers while Dabang Mumbai face Delhi Waveriders in the two semi-finals slated on Saturday.
It was Ajay Yadav (12th min) and Ramandeep Singh (17th min) who scored field goals for the home team while Gurjant Singh (13th min) and Manpreet Singh (19th min) restored parity.
It was total entertainment with the two teams matching each other’s game, keeping the spectators at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium riveted from hooter to hooter.
First, it was Wizards’ Ajay Yadav, to fetch a 2-0 lead for the home team in the 12th minute. He was assisted by the experienced VR Raghunath who did well to find Yadav.
The youngster was impeccable with a powerful shot that beat Dabang Mumbai’s experienced goalkeeper David Harte. Dabang Mumbai, made up almost immediately, when Gurjant Singh popular for his back hander struck in the 13th minute to equalise.
It was his teammate Manpreet Singh from the Junior World Cup winning team who did extremely well to dribble past Raghunath and Gonzalo Peillat in the circle to find Gurjant who simply had to tap the ball into the post.
It continued to be an open game in the second quarter too with both teams improvising their performance. Home team’s forward Ramandeep Singh showed class with a brilliant back hander to score in the 17th minute and give his team a 4-2 lead.
He was remarkable to beat two defenders after a perfect assist by his skipper Raghunath that sent the home crowd roaring in joy. However, the lead lasted only two minutes as Dabang Mumbai’s Manpreet equalized in the 19th minute.
At the end of the third quarter, the score continued to read 4-4. Though Uttar Pradesh Wizards dominated the quarter with the ball possession, they couldn’t quite make much of it as some of their ambitious attempts at scoring a goal was promptly denied by Dabang Mumbai’s defence.
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