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HIL 3: UP thrash Mumbai to take one step closer to semis

Uttar Pradesh Wizards trounced Dabang Mumbai 5-1 to take a firm step towards the semifinals of the Hero Hockey India League at the Mahindra Stadium here on Wednesday.

HIL 3: UP thrash Mumbai to take one step closer to semis

Mumbai: Uttar Pradesh Wizards trounced Dabang Mumbai 5-1 to take a firm step towards the semifinals of the Hero Hockey India League at the Mahindra Stadium here on Wednesday.

Dutch midfielder Bob de Voogd scored two brilliant reverse-hit field goals in quick succession (42nd and 45th minutes) for the winners, who rode roughshod over the home team after the first quarter.

The winners' remaining goals were notched by India internationals Ramandeep Singh (26th; the account opener), Nikkin Thimmaiah (34th) and V R Raghunath (50th).

The lone goal for the home team came off the stick of Australian Jeremy Hayward off an indirect penalty corner conversion -- the fourth set-piece award out of a total of eight earned -- in the 44th minute of play.

Their fourth win in eight games helped UP take their tally to 25 points with two games in hand, against Mumbai again at Lucknow on February 15 and against holders Delhi Waveriders on February 18.

Mumbai, who suffered their fourth loss from seven games, failed to get any from the match and remained on 12 points -- their qualifying hopes severely dented by the humiliating loss though they have three away games in hand.

Mumbai started on a storming note, creating openings with blistering runs down the right flank in the opening quarter, but they lost steam in the second as UP settled down to have more say in the match.

The Mumbai defence also leaked aplenty which was taken full advantage of by the speedy set of UP forwards, especially by Dutchman de Voogd.

The visiting team, who were third in the table going into their eighth league game, started attacking more from the second quarter and reaped rich rewards as they took a 3-0 lead before the home team reduced the margin.

But they had to wait for the opening goal as India defender V R Raghunath moved on the right and squared the ball across the goalmouth with Mumbai goalkeeper David Harte unable to cut it off, but the pass went waste with nobody there to deflect it home.

A minute later, de Voogd muffed a good chance from close range before international Ramandeep trapped a long scoop essayed from the centre, hoodwinked two rival defenders and shot home off-balance to beat Harte under the Mumbai bar to put UP 1-0 up in the 26th minute of the game.

Both teams forced a penalty corner each in the second part of the quarter, but neither could find the mark. UP attacked with vigour whenever they got the ball, in contrast to Mumbai whose attack did not carry the same punch as in the opening quarter.

The visitors made it 2-0 through some brilliant stick work by another Dutchman Jolie Wouter who showed a clean pair of heels to rival defenders as he weaved his way on the left into the circle before squaring to Ramandeep in front of the goal, who, in turn relayed it to Nikkin Thimmiah for the last-named to shoot home in a jiffy.

Mumbai replaced Harte under the bar with former India custodian Adrian D'souza but the brittle defence made the change meaningless as he conceded two goals, both to the reverse hits of de Voogd.

The skillful Dutch player dodged his way into the circle on the left side and then essayed a reverse-hit that hit the roof of the goal via D'souza?s stick.

But Mumbai hit back immediately to score off their fourth penalty corner in an indirect manner as the ball came to pusher Glenn Turner who relayed it to Australian compatriot Jeremy Hayward to hit home with a reverse hit.

But any hopes of the hosts staging a comeback were dashed when de Voogd beat D'Souza with another reverse hit (4-1), after some shoddy defensive work by Mumbai, and then Raghunath made no mistake with his drag-flick to score from UP's second penalty corner award early in the final quarter (5-1).

Mumbai forced four more penalty corners in the remaining time but failed to break the rival defence.

From Zee News

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