HIL: UP Wizards beat Ranchi Rays 2-0

Lucknow, Feb 3:  Ranchi Rays eked out a 2-0 win against Uttar Pradesh Wizards in a Hero Hockey India League (HIL) encounter at the Dhyan Chand Sports College stadium here Tuesday.

Australian Trent Mitton (13th minute) and Mandeep Singh (42nd) scored to take Rays' tally to 14 points. They now share equal points with Wizards in the pool standings.

Players in action during match between Uttar Pradesh Wizards and Ranchi Rays

Both the teams played attacking hockey from the first minute and tried to create chances in each others halves. While Rays dominated the game, Wizards failed wasted several chances.

The Ashley Jackson led Rays had the first scoring chance in the 13th minute and Australian Mitton pumped in a beautifully crafted field goal.

Rays marched ahead but an alert goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh kept the hosts in the game with some remarkable saves.

He pulled off two outstanding reflex saves, first successfully halting Nick Wilson and then Manpreet Singh both on one-on-one positions in front of the goal.

Both Rays and Wizards made some impressive forays but their efforts failed to materialise into goals. Consequently, the second half of the match saw a dry run as both the teams defended deep.

Moving into the third quarter, Rays doubled the lead when Mandeep surged ahead and scored in the 42nd minute.

Both the teams tried to keep the possession of the ball, not letting the other team to convert any scoring opportunities. As the time neared the end, neither of the teams was able to score. Finally, Rays asserted a fine win.

"The team has been playing a fair game till now in the league and we were expecting favourable results today. Fortunately, we won the match," Rays coach Harendra Singh said.

"Our man-to-man marking was well in place and our goalkeeper Tyler Lovell also did a good job in this match. We will try and carry this form in the upcoming matches as well."

Harendra also acknowledged Sreejesh's performance. "Today's match seemed to be more like Ranchi Rays against P.R Sreejesh," he said.

Wizards coach Roelant Oltmans said his team failed to get the better of a well-organised said.

"Ranchi Rays was a well-organised side in the match today and played well during the entire match. We tried to chase them down and but failed to do so," Oltmans said.

The Dutchman also felt Wizards were not able to execute their plans on the field.

"The team did not perform as per the planned execution and therefore we lost the match. We had good opportunities but could not convert them into goals. Sreejesh did a really good job and saved a lot of goals."


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