Uttar Pradesh Wizards settled for a 2-2 draw against the visiting Jaypee Punjab Warriors team in their second home match at Dhyan Chand Stadium, Lucknow on Sunday. It also turned out to be the first draw of the second edition of the HIL. Now Punjab Warriors who are at the top of the points table have secured 18 points from five matches while UP Wizards have 13 points from 4 matches.
UP Wizards played a much better hockey today as compared to Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Ranchi Rhinos. The Wizards held an upper hand in ball possession and also some good moves, but Punjab Warriors goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann’s man-of-the-match performance saw the sides split points. That said, both sides played attacking hockey. Jake Whetton of Punjab Warriors broke the deadlock in the sixth minute of the play. However, Teun de Nooijer scored the equaliser through a penalty corner just six minutes later. In the second quarter, Wizards came up with a couple of good moves but could not finish them well and UP Wizards goalkeeper George Bazeley also had a hand in keeping the forwards honest.
Satbir Singh put the Punjab Warriors into lead again when he scored in the 50th minute from open play. However, the Wizards stuck to their aggressive approach and they succeeded in levelling the scores once again when in the 54th minute when SK Uthappa capitalised on an assit from David Alefre.
Uttar Pradesh Wizards coach Oltmans admitted that his team put up a better show to rebound from Saturday’s loss. “It was absolutely a better show today. We had opportunities to score more goals… our finishing needs improvement. But I think the defense on both the sides was good.”
Wizards captain VR Raghunath said: “Today our energy level was higher and we expect to continue the same. Some credit goes to Warriors goal-keeper also as he made some excellent saves.” Talking about his team’s performance on home matches, he said, “There is no pressure of home matches as such. We just believe in putting in our efforts well.