Young drag-flicker from Argentina, Gonzalo Peillat, converted a ‘lucky’ penalty corner in the dying moments to help UP Wizards draw 2-2 with Kalinga Lancers in their first home game of the Hockey India League on Friday.
The Lancers had already started to celebrate as the hooter had sounded. But a referral for a dangerous stop just outside the penalty circle helped the Wizards equalise, and Peillat sounded the board.
For the Lancers, skipper Mortiz Fuerste scored both the goals.
Playing before a moderate but enthusiastic crowd at the Major Dhyanchand Stadium, the Wizards, who had a 10-0 win against the same rivals in Bhubaneswar last week, dominated the first quarter, displaying quick passes even on an uneven surface.
After testing Lancers’ custodian Andrew Charter early in the game, V Raghunath finally came to the party, displaying excellent form to open the account in the 15th minute. After stopping the ball at the line, the drag-flicker scored (1-0).
The celebrations were short-lived as within seconds the Lancers too earned a penalty corner, and Fuerste surprised India custodian PR Sreejesh with the power of his hit (1-1).
Drama continued in the second quarter, but it was a story of missed chances for both the sides. Ramandeep Singh and Akashdeep Singh created a number of opportunities, but good defence by the Lancers denied them a chance to score.
In the 22nd minute, Wouter Jolie had to beat the Lancers custodian but shot wide.
The third quarter witnessed a foray of attacks and counter attacks, but the scoreboard remained unchanged. Things started to change in the last quarter as within six minutes Lancers extended their lead with Fuerste striking his sixth goal this season, converting a penalty corner in the 51st minute (2-1).
The draw, however, made no changes to the points table as the Lancers, with 21 points, are still second, whereas the Wizards, with nine points from five matches, are at the bottom.
The Wizards now play their second home game against Ranchi Rays on Thursday.