HIL: Wizards end Warriors' winning run

Lucknow: Table-toppers Jaypee Punjab Warriors today suffered their first defeat in the 2015 Hockey India League 2015 after going down 1-2 against Uttar Pradesh Wizards at the Dhyan Chand Sports College here.

V R Raghunath and Ramandeep Singh scored for the victorious home team whereas captain Jamie Dwyer scored the lone goal for Warriors. In the first quarter, Wizards outplayed the visitors with attacking moves. Seven minutes into the game, Wizards drew first blood when they counter-attacked and earned a penalty corner.

Penalty corner specialist Raghunath received the pass and smashed the ball hard into the box, beating goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann. With the early lead, the home team attacked more aggressively and maintained the pressure on Warriors. Their aggression paid again when they scored their second goal in the ninth minute.

During their counter charge, forward player Ramandeep Singh received the ball in the opponents D and without giving any time to react to the defenders and custodian Stockmann, he hit the ball straight into the net. With the win, Wizards are second in the table with 19 points while Warriors still lead with 23 points. Warriors coach Barry Dancer admitted they lost to a better side on the day.

'UP Wizards were a better side today and full credit goes to the them especially after losing yesterday's match and coming back strong today. I am disappointed with our performance as we gave away goals in the initial stage itself and handed over the lead to the opponents. Performance was not consistent at all and we will have to cooperate even better than our opponents in the league.'

Dwyer added, 'Penalty Corners play a vital role in a match and this was a major problem today as we could not convert any. We were inconsistent in the entire match and lost out on many opportunities. This loss today will be a learning for the whole team and we will try and come back in the upcoming matches in the league.'

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