Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Wizards and Jaypee Punjab Warriors finished 2-2 at full time to register the first draw of the second edition of the Hockey India League (HIL) at the Dhyan Chand Stadium yesterday.
Uttar Pradesh Wizards' Nithin Thimmaiah in action against Jaypee Punjab Warriors yesterday
It was a free-flowing contest between two evenly-matched teams. Even though the Wizards had the larger share of ball possession, there was little to differentiate between the two sides.
The goalkeepers of both sides — George Bazeley (Wizards) and Jaap Stockmann (Warriors) had a busy day in office as the teams played attacking hockey throughout the match.
The Wizards started on an aggressive note and earned a penalty corner early on but skipper VR Raghunath flicked the ball straight at Man of the Match Stockmann.
The Warriors took the lead in the sixth minute through Jake Whetton’s goal after he was set up by SV Sunil.
Their joy, however, was short-lived as the Wizards drew level six minutes later when David Alegre equalised from a rebound after Stockmann had blocked Luke Doerner’s penalty corner shot.
The visitors surged ahead once again in the 50th minute when Satbir Singh scored with a forehand shot in the third quarter after he was set up by Simon Orchard and Whetton’s fine work from the right flank.
However, the Wizards pressed hard and managed to draw level four minutes later through SK Uthappa, who slapped home from close range.
The draw gave both teams two points apiece with the Warriors having consolidated their position at the top of the standings with 18 points from five games. The Wizards have moved up the table, garnering 13 points from four matches.