The Uttar Pradesh Wizards smashed five goals past the Kalinga Lancers to pick up their first victory of the season. Interim Indian national team coach Roelant Oltmans allowed himself a mild smirk as his Wizards announced themselves in the Third Edition of the Hockey India League with a resounding 5-1 win over Kalinga.
Oltmans chose to strike a balance in his squad between youth and experience. The experienced Dutchman went about doing so by adding Wouter Jolie and Nikkin Thimmaiah.
V.R Raghunath puts the Wizards ahead
Having found ample number of chances, the Wizards found themselves with an opportunity to go ahead as a successful review by the Wizards ensured that they were awarded a penalty corner. With barely five minutes to play in the first quarter, V.R Raghunath stepped up to the plate. As he has done numerous times in the past for the national side, the veteran dragflcik expert slotted the ball past Andrew Carter. Thus, the first quarter concluded with the the Wizards ahead by a goal.
The second quarter saw both sides win a penalty corner each. However, with neither Raghunath nor Gurjinder Singh converting, the first half ended with a solitary goal separating both sides.
U.P Wizards Rip Lancer’s Defense To Shreds
The third quarter also ended with no change to the score although both sides had opportunities. Hence final quarter started with the match very much in the balance.
The last ten minutes of the game however saw a massive lapse in concentration from the Kalinga Lancers. This fatal mental error from the away side enabled the Wizards to take charge of the game, scoring three goals in three minutes. S.K Uthappa (53rd), Bob de Voogd (54th) and Wouter Jolie (55th) all ended up scoring goals in open play to take the match away from the visitors.
A consolation goal from Russell Ford with two minutes left on the clock did little to ease the heart ache as the Wizards were awarded a penalty stroke with less than a minute to go. Jeroen Hertzberger calmly slotted the ball past Andrew Carter to end what was a rather dismal performance from the Kalinga Lancers.
Picking up their first victory of the season , the U.P Wizards moved to within six points of the Kalinga Lancers. However, the reaction from both coaches sums up what was an exciting encounter in the Hockey India League.
“It was really necessary for us to win the match today and I am glad that we succeeded in doing so. The team had a new captain in this match that turned out to be fruitful and I will keep rotating the captains in the future matches as well. This strategy seems to be working for us,”
– Roelant Oltmans
“It was a very disappointing performance today. We were in there till the third quarter of the match but the fourth quarter changed the entire game,”
– Jude Felix