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Raghunath scores a hat-trick

- Uttar pradesh wizards defeat mumbai magicians 5-3
Uttar Pradesh Wizards’ players celebrate a goal, in Mumbai, on Wednesday

Mumbai: Captain VR Raghunath scored a hat-trick as Uttar Pradesh Wizards came from a two-goal deficit to thrash Mumbai Magicians 5-3 in a Hero Hockey India League (HIL) match, here, on Wednesday.

Raghunath scored in the 28th, 41st and 56th minutes from penalty corners to secure the second win for his team in the HIL.

It was the hosts who took the lead in the 12th minute through their star drag-flicker Gurjinder Singh, who converted a penalty corner with ease.

The Wizards got a golden opportunity to equalise a few minutes later when the ball appeared to touch a defender’s foot and they earned a penalty stroke. But they couldn’t utilise the chance as Luke Doerner failed to sound the board.

The Australian defender flicked it high on the left side, but it was brilliantly stopped by the Magicians’ goalkeeper David Harte. Magicians captain Glenn Turner (18th minute) later scored off a rebound to increase the lead to 2-0.

The Wizards were unable to convert most of their penalty corners and in the 25th minute Raghunath was denied a chance by Vikas Pillay, who brilliantly deflected it away.

However, the visitors fought back strongly, courtesy captain Raghunath’s two goals, in the 28th minute and 41st minute respectively, to equalise. The captain pumped in another goal in the 56th minute.

The Roelant Oltmans –coached Wizards surged ahead with goals from Siddharth Shanker (52nd minute) and S. Uthappa (59th). Mumbai’s Sarvanjit Singh (57th minute) scored off a rebound after Gurjinder Singh got the initial touch to add another goal to the team’s kitty.

By virtue of this win, the Wizards pocketed five points while the Magicians secured one point as per a rule of the tournament that says a defeat with a goal difference of two or less goals will give the losing side a point.

The Magicians will play debutants Kalinga Lancers next in Bhubaneswar on February 1, while the Wizards will face defending champions Ranchi Rhinos in a home match on the same day.