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Wizards on top with another win

india Updated: Jan 21, 2013 01:44 IST
Sharad Deep
Sharad Deep
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The journey from the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium to the city, a distance of almost 12 km, is a problem for fans.

First, one has to cover 2 km on foot to reach the Guru Govind Singh Sports College's gate, before negotiating the next 10 km via different means due to the poor public transport system.

However, this did not dampen the enthusiasm of fans, who boarded trucks, tractor trolleys and even 'tongas' to reach the venue and cheer for the home team - UP Wizards.

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The atmosphere in the stadium was electric and even the players seemed to soak it in.

The Wizards' 2-0 win over the Ranchi Rhinos in the Hockey India League on Sunday was their second in three matches, whereas this was the first loss for the Rhinos, who had won two matches at home.

Hitting Home
A reverse hit by Jeroen Hertzberger and a penalty corner conversion by skipper VR Raghunath were good enough to fetch the home side their second win. They now lead the table with 12 points. The Delhi Waveriders, on equal points, are second on goal difference.

The Rhinos looked off-colour after putting up a good show in the first quarter. They tried their best to find gaps in the Wizards' defence, and even got a few chances, but their forwards failed to cash in.

After the change of ends, the Wizards' repeated efforts to breach the Rhinos' defence paid off in the 47th minute when Hertzberger's reverse hit stunned goalkeeper Francisco Cortes.

They could have doubled the lead three minutes later but Raghunath's low strike off a penalty corner was saved by Cortes.

Raghunath was again in the spotlight when his push from the right hit a Rhinos' defender's foot, earning the hosts their second penalty corner. As expected, he made no mistake, pushing the ball home in the 60th minute.

In their next home match, the Wizards take on Ranchi Rhinos again, on January 26 at 3pm, whereas the Rhinos play their next home match against the Delhi Waveriders on Wednesday at 8pm.

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