Uttar Pradesh Wizards suffered hat-trick of losses as they were overwhelmed by Kalinga Lancers 2-10 in a Coal India Hockey India League (HIL) match here on Monday.
Aran Zalewski brought Lancers level 2-2 in the 20th minute with a field goal, which is counted as two in this edition, six minutes after Argentine Gonzalo Peillat put the hosts ahead with a penalty stroke conversion.
Later, Australian Glenn Turner stole the show by scoring four goals – Lalit Upadhay and Dharamvir Singh scoring a field goal each – as Lancers put up a resounding second half performance.
It was also Lancers’ first win over Wizards in the history of HIL and the hammering win gave them the top spot in the league table so far in this edition. Although Lancers and Jaypee Punjab Warriors have 11 points each after three matches, the Bhubaneswar-based outfit is ahead by better goal difference — eight as against three. Wizards are fourth with seven points from four matches.
The match at the Dhayan Chand Sports College began at a very slow pace with the home team playing carefully after two straight losses against defending champions Ranchi Rays and Delhi Waveriders on home turf.
Wizards gradually started attacking Lancers and their efforts soon yielded results with the team being awarded with a penalty stroke in the 14th minute. Peillat, the 2014 World Junior Player of the Year, did not make any errors in converting the penalty stroke to give the home team a 2-0 lead.
Lancers equalised in the 20th minute through a field strike from Zalewski, who was fed in front of the goal by compatriot Turner.
Wizards lacked the cohesion and compactness as they were pressurised in the third quarter. Lancers hit them hard with two quick spectacular field goals in the 43rd and 45th through Turner and Upadhyay, taking the scoreline to 6-2.
Lancers did not stop at this as Turner and captain Moritz furste made a one-two run in the 47th minute and the latter was tripped inside the circle by goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh. It resulted in a penalty stroke that was converted by Turner.
Wizards thereafter tried hard but failed in all their efforts. The defence lacked sheen and they gave way a field goal again.
Dharamvir and Upadhyay were involved in an one-two play in the 60th minute. Dharamvir scored from a tight angle to make it 10-2, inflicting a confidence-shattering third loss in a trot at home.
The goal of the match award of Rs.50,000 went to Zalewski, while Upadhyay walked away with the Most Entertaining Player of the Match award. Turner won the Man-of-the-Match award of Rs.50,000 while Akashdeep Singh from UWizards won the Rs.25,000 Hero Emerging Player of the Match award.