Finally, Uttar Pradesh Wizards registered a win on home turf. The comfortable 3-1 victory over Kalinga Lancers in their league match at Dhyan Chand Stadium, Lucknow came in their fourth match at the venue. Victory at Lucknow seemed to elude them so far as in the earlier three ties played here, they had lost in two and drawn one.
After this win, the Wizards have now collected 21 points from 7 matches. The Kalinga Lancers have eight points from six matches.
A change in approach, with the team deciding to be aggresive and go in front early instead of having to chase the game as they have done previously this season worked on the day. The Wizards scored a goal in the first half to put the pressure on Kalinga Lancers right from the start. They would never fall behind in the game and got on the scoreboard first when skipper VR Raghunath converted a penalty corner awarded to his team in the 17th minute.
Both the teams played a fast-paced attacking hockey in the second quarter and came up with some good moves. Wizards’ striker Nikkin Thimmaiah who enjoyed a good game, scored from open play in the 41st minute.
Going two goals down, Kalinga Lancers required a huge turnaround in the second period. Their drag-flicker Gonzalo Peillat capitalised on a penalty-corner awarded to his team in the 59th minute to decrease the margin to 2-1. However, Teun de Nooijer sounded the boards just seconds before the final hooter to ensure a 3-1 win for the Wizards.
Roelant Oltmans, coach of the UP Wizards team said: “Finally the team has won at Lucknow. This time we started in the right manner—- we started with an advantage and scored the first two goals because of which we did not have too much trouble in winning. Today the energy level of the players was really good.”
Kalinga Lancers coach Terry Walsh, said: “The result is disappointing. We need to understand that winning is important for which the scoreboard must keep ticking. The semi-final spot is fast slipping.”