Mumbai Magicians finally had something to cheer about as they tasted their first success in eight matches after beating Uttar Pradesh Wizards 4-0 in a Hockey India League encounter at the Mumbai Hockey Association Stadium on Wednesday.
Magicians accumulated five points from the game, taking their tally to 12. They are still bottom-placed, five behind the Wizards.
Skipper Sandeep Singh slammed a brace and now has 11 goals this season, while Jonny Jasrotia and Jason Wilson chipped in with a goal each. But Magicians’ P Sreejesh was declared man of the match for his brilliant effort under the bar.
Magicians, who suffered the most after their four midfield Pakistan players returned home, finally got their coordination right. The forwards dominated while the defence did well to devoid UP any chances of a comeback.
The Magicians began on a high, opening the account in the 11th minute. Jasrotia converted a penalty corner with a ground flick that went between the legs of UP custodian George Bazeley. The first half ended at 1-0, with both teams putting up a tight defence.
Wilson doubled the margin in 10th minute of the second session via a field goal. He ran solo to get the ball in easily, taking the score to 2-0. Seven minutes later, Sandeep converted another penalty corner, his fiery shot on the top left of the corner leaving Bazeley stunned.
With less than 10 minutes to go, the Wizards, 3-0 down, removed their goalkeeper and went for the attack with 11 players. In the 66th minute, Sandeep easily scored with yet another penalty corner striking a keeper-less citadel.
An elated Magicians coach Ric Charlesworth said, ‘’The way things are going in this tournament, the semifinalists could be decided on goal difference. And Punjab have scored one against us with 12 players on the field. I think the organisers should consider deducting that one goal from Punjab.” “I had said in the beginning that this is a long-distance race. Our spirit is better now, but there is a lot of hard-work ahead,” the Aussie added.
Stopwatch: Mumbai Magicians 4 (S Singh 52nd, 55th, J Jasrotia 11th, J Wilson 45th) bt UP Wizards 0; Ranchi Rhinos 2 (J Ross 14th, F Evers 61st) drew with Delhi Wave Riders 2 (OG 20th, 53rd)