Ranchi Rays, UP Wizards play goalless draw in HIL
Ranchi, Feb 4 (IANS) Ranchi Rays and Uttar Pradesh Wizards played a goalless draw in a Coal India Hockey India League (HIL) match at the AstroTurf Hockey stadium here on Saturday.
Chances came both the teams’ ways. UP Wizards bagged as many as five penalty corners, while the hosts got three but neither of them came out with a winner.
Both the teams had started the match on a fast note, pressing high early. UP Wizards were first to create a goal-scoring chance as a long aerial ball in the seventh minute saw Belgian Florent van Aubel see off two defenders and race into the Ranchi circle only to see his shots being blocked by goalkeeper Tyler Lovell. But the ball bounced off Lovell, giving UP Wizards a penalty corner but the visitors failed to make the most of it.
Three minutes later, the hosts too made their intentions clear by earning a penalty corner but Ashley Jackson’s flick was not enough to breach UP Wizards’ defence.
The intensity level was low in the second quarter, however, both the teams performed well defensively.
Australian Flynn Ogilve had a good chance to make it 2-0 for Ranchi in the 26th minute as he met Muhammad Amir Khan’s baseline cross from the left but his drive at the near post was denied by a sliding goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh.
In the third quarter, the defences of both the teams continued to foil advances — like Ranchi’s Sumit ensuring Seve Van Ass’ penalty corner flick went out of the mark in the 34th minute.
Ranchi, meanwhile, continued to disappoint the home crowd due to several mispasses.
Sumit, the first runner in Ranchi’s penalty corner defence set-up, continued to impact the match as he blocked two penalty corner hits from Gonzalo Peillat in the fourth quarter.
The young Jharkhand player also set-up Amir for a back-hander on the right but the side-bar denied the hosts from taking a lead in the 52nd minute.
At the other end, Augustin Mazzilli earned a penalty corner for UP and this time, Raghunath saw his hit being saved. Barry Middleton, guarding the right post, made a goal-line save to keep the spirit of the home camp alive.
At the match inched closer to the final hooter, neither teams managed to come up with purposeful penetration as they were content with sharing two points each.
With this draw, third-placed Ranchi took their tally to 17 points from seven games, while UP Wizards, playing their third match of the campaign, remained in the fourth spot with eight points.
Kalinga Lancers are on top with 20 points from six matches, while second-placed Dabang Mumbai have 18 points from six games. Jaypee Punjab Warriors are fifth with six points from three matches and Delhi Waveriders are sixth and last with four points from three matches.