Uttar Pradesh Wizards were unstoppable as they scored a sensational 10-0 win against Kalinga Lancers denying the hosts an opportunity to top the points table again. It was Agustin Mazzilli (1′), Ramandeep Singh (4′ and 23′), Akashdeep Singh (27′ and 48′) who starred in Uttar Pradesh Wizards’s maiden win.
Ahead of their clash against Kalinga Lancers, who had earlier scored two back-to-back wins in front of their home crowd, Uttar Pradesh Wizards skipper VR Raghunath had insisted on converting the chances they earn and that is exactly what his team did as they got off to a pulsating start here on Sunday in the eighth game of the fifth edition of the Coal India Hockey India League.
Playing in front of a packed Kalinga Stadium, Uttar Pradesh Wizards struck their first goal, only seconds into the game, through Argentine Agustin Mazzilli. The young forward who was leading the visitors’ attack was inch perfect in putting the ball past Kalinga Lancers’ keeper Abhinav Kumar Pandey, after he was brilliantly assisted by Arthur Van Doren in the 1st minute of the match. This was perhaps the quickest goal in the League so far and it certainly set the momentum for an exciting encounter.
Forward Ramandeep Singh, who had scored a fierce 59th minute goal for Uttar Pradesh Wizards in their first game of the League, further enhanced their lead to 4-0 with a stunning goal from the left flank in the 4th minute. It was a quick-thinking Akashdeep Singh who did a brilliant job by setting up the goal, thus silencing the boisterous home crowd. As per the new Regulations, a field goal counts as two goals and the visitors took complete advantage of this.
Uttar Pradesh Wizards, who dominated the first quarter, had a chance to take their lead to 5-0 when they earned their first PC of the match but a poor injection by Akashdeep Singh denied them the luxury.
The second quarter saw the home team play an attacking game, often making forays into the circle trying desperately to find the gap for a field goal but in vain. Uttar Pradesh Wizards, meanwhile, launched a lethal counter attack and they found success almost immediately with Ramandeep Singh scoring the team’s third goal in the 23rd minute. A skillful dribble into the circle by Seve Van Ass, beating the Kalinga Lancers’ defender Amit Rohidas, to find Ramandeep Singh who had fashioned himself in front of the post made no mistake in putting the ball past Pandey.
Later, Akashdeep Singh pumped yet another goal into the Kalinga Lancers’ post in the 27th minute taking their lead to a swashbuckling 8-0 and thus earning the tag of becoming the milestone man as this was the 50th goal at the fifth edition of the Coal India Hockey India League.
Marching into the third quarter after a formidable start, the Uttar Pradesh Wizards were patient, playing a sensible game and denying much of the ball possession to their opponents. In the 34th minute, they earned their second PC of the game, thanks to Akashdeep Singh but they couldn’t convert the chance as Kalinga Lancers keeper Andrew Charter did well in padding away the strike by VR Raghunath.
Kalinga Lancers’ dangerous forward Glenn Turner was strangely off the mark today. He missed a good chance at converting a goal in the 42nd minute when Lalit Upadhyay set him up rather seamlessly but Turner couldn’t quite convert it, thanks to the efforts of Uttar Pradesh Wizards’ celebrated keeper PR Sreejesh. Thus, ending the quarter without a goal.
The visitors continued their rampaging form into the fourth quarter as Akashdeep Singh put another one past a hapless goal keeper Charter after racing into the circle with little threat from Kalinga Lancers’ defenders and making a successful attempt in the 48th minute. This effort earned the Uttar Pradesh Wizards a 10-0 lead and five points from the match. They also became the first team in the league to win an away-from-home match.
Uttar Pradesh Wizards Agustin Mazzilli was awarded with a prize money of Rs 50,000 for scoring the Coal India Goal of the Match from Mr Ramesh Kumar Jha, General Manager (Welfare), Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd.
Anand Lakra of Kalinga Lancers won the prize of Rs 25,000 for being the Hero Young Achiever of the Match from Olympian and Member of Parliament Dr. Dilip Tirkey.
The Most Entertaining Player of the Match was awarded to Ramandeep Singh of Uttar Pradesh Wizards that came with a prize money of Rs 25,000 and presented by Mr. Pratap Satpathy, General Secretary, Hockey Odisha.
Akashdeep Singh of Uttar Pradesh Wizards was declared the Man of the Match and was awarded a prize money of Rs 50,000 by Mr. LN Gupta, IAS, Principal Secretary, MSME Department, Govt of Odisha.