Hockey India League: Sandeep scores twice as Magicians down Wizards for maiden win



Hockey India League: Sandeep scores twice as Magicians down Wizards for maiden winMumbai: Captain Sandeep Singh scored twice from penalty corner flicks as Mumbai Magicians broke their winless streak after seven straight losses in the Hockey India League by outclassing Uttar Pradesh Wizards 4-0 at the MHA Mahindra Stadium here today.

The Magicians went into the game played between the 5-team league`s bottom-placed sides in a must-win situation and showed a lot of positive play and attacked from both flanks to dominate their rivals.

The first two goals for Magicians before Sandeep`s double strike, that took his goal tally to 11, were notched up by Jonny Jasrotia, off the first of the Magicians` five short corners, and Jason Wilson, a fine field goal on the run from the right.

The home team`s deep defence, with goalkeeper P R Sreejesh having a good game along with Matthew Butturuni, also stood tall to deny their rivals` forays repeatedly.

The well-earned victory fetched the Magicians five points that boosted their tally to 12 with four games, including three at home, in hand.

The Wizards` fourth loss in their eighth game by a four-goal margin kept them on 17 points.

Magicians took an early lead through a penalty corner effort from Jasrotia in the first quarter and, after a goalless second quarter, proceeded to pump in two more goals after half-time in the third quarter via Wilson and Sandeep, to lead 3-0, before the home team skipper flicked home again in the last quarter to complete the tally.

The Wizards started on a sound note when Dutch veteran Tuen de Nooijer combined beautifully with Edward Ockenden to essay a move down the middle which, however, did not produce a goal as P R Sreejesh, the home team custodian, was alert enough to thwart the danger.

Thereafter, the visitors yielded space to their rivals in the opening quarter and also went down by a penalty corner goal scored by Jonny Jasrotia with a low flick that beat the on-rushing defenders as well as custodian George Bazeley and hit the board in the 10th minute.

A minute before this goal came a good move by the Magicians down the right flank and a centre from Faisal Saari was deflected by the Wizards goalkeeper Bazeley and the rebound could not be converted from an acute angle on the left by Jasrotia. But he made amends a minute later to put the home team 1-0 in front.

Just as the first quarter was ending, the Magicians earned a penalty corner and the hooter sounded immediately. The set-piece award failed to increase the lead as tournament`s top-scorer Sandeep Singh could not beat an alert Bazeley.

The Wizards pitched their tent in the rival half for most of the second quarter, but could not equalize due to disjointed efforts and the teams crossed over at half time with the hosts leading 1-0.

Sandeep had to leave the field for a while for foul play and then Nooijer did the same after being hit by the ball on his foot.

The Magicians attacked with renewed vigour soon after start of play in the second half but thrice in quick succession the Wizards` goal survived, Sarvanjit being unable to finish the move on two of those occasions.

After the Wizards forced their first two short corners successively, action suddenly shifted to their own half through a quick counter by the Magicians which culminated in Jason Wilson managing to score the hosts` second goal, off a feed by Mathew Swann, from a very acute angle on the right while on the run.

Rival custodian Bazeley had been drawn away from his line by the fast move and could not recover in time to cover the angle.

After conceding a third penalty corner to the Wizards and Sreejesh effecting a fine save off a Raghunath flick, the Magicians virtually sealed their maiden win of the league when captain Sandeep made no mistake off the third short corner award to make it 3-0 in the home team`s favour just before the end of the third quarter.

After denying their rivals with some good defending in the fourth quarter, Magicians sealed their rivals` fate when Sandeep flicked home off their fourth short corner award with no goalkeeper to stop his shot as Wizards played an extra attacking player instead of their goalkeeper to try and score one goal and reduce the margin of defeat.

The local team secured their last penalty corner but Sandeep was foiled this time.

Magicians take on Punjab Warriors tomorrow in their ninth game.

PTI