It was the same old story for the Mumbai Magicians – squandering the early advantage to lose yet another match. Only this time, their tormentor was Uttar Pradesh Wizards’ captain, VR Raghunath.
The Magicians lost their second game in the Hockey India League, going down 5-3 to the Wizards at the MHAL Stadium here on Wednesday despite being ahead by two goals to nil. For the record, Mumbai lost by the same margin in their opening encounter against the Punjab Warriors, and there too they conceded a 3-2 lead.
Raghunath’s hat-trick of penalty corner conversions and two smart field goals by Siddharth Shanker and SK Uthappa ensured the visitors had no such problems, despite Mumbai striking another goal in the fourth quarter.
The Magicians earned their first penalty corner in the ninth minute and their dragflick specialist, Gurjinder Singh, gave the home team the lead in the 12th minute. Mumbai earned their second corner almost immediately at the start of the second quarter, and this time, Mumbai captain Glenn Turner shot one straight into the net after it rebounded of Uttar Pradesh’s goalkeeper George Bazeley. Leading with two goals, the Magicians were well and truly ahead.
But Raghunath made sure there was no more dancing for the Magicians. After his team missed two penalty corners, the skipper finally converted one in the 28th minute and struck the equalizer in the 41st. The Magicians’ defense started falling apart, and 11 minutes later, Siddharth Shanker deflected a cross to give the Wizards the lead for the first time in the match right at the end of the third quarter.
Then came the killer blow from Raghunath, and probably the best goal of the match. Having earned another corner almost immediately at the onset of the last quarter, the Wizards’ skipper received the ball, swirled it around for one complete circle, and placed it perfectly into the left of the out-foxed Harte.
Stopwatch: Uttar Pradesh Wizards 5 (VR Raghunath 28, 41, 56; S Shanker 52; SK Uthappa 59) bt Mumbai Magicians 3 (G Singh 12, G Turner 18; S Singh 57)
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