U.P. Yoddha and Bengal Warriors settled for a tie for the second time in this campaign after an astonishing finish to the match at the Shaheed Vijay Singh Pathik Sports Complex in Greater Noida on Sunday saw them finish with 30 points apiece.
The first half saw a cautious approach from both sides with neither deploying their defence too high nor letting their raiders venture too deep into the opposition half.
The largest lead of the first period was just two, which only lasted for mere seconds as both teams traded points throughout the first 20 minutes of the contest.
U.P. Yoddha captain Rishank Devadiga got Adarsh T and Surjeet Singh to give his side a 4-2 lead but Maninder Singh quickly got a point back with a touch on Nitesh Kumar, before Mahesh Goud surprised Shrikant Jadhav with a tackle to level the score.
Maninder was outstanding for his side in a low-scoring first half, managing five raid points. Shrikant Tewthia showed off his defensive prowess, tackling Devadiga twice and Jadhav once in the first half. Captain PO Surjeet Singh got in on the act in the dying minutes of the half with a tackle on Devadiga as the teams went into the break with Bengal Warriors leading 12-11.
The opening exchanges of the second half mirrored the first, with both teams being cautious in their approach. But the game-changing moment came with the substitution of Azad Singh, as the raider came in and got two touch points in his very first raid of the match.
Azad managed another point on his next raid which was followed by Nitesh Kumar’s Ankle Hold on Jang Kun Lee, reducing Bengal Warriors to just two men on the mat. Despite some resistance from Bengal Warriors, U.P. Yoddha managed to get both men and inflicted the game’s first All-Out to take a 21-17 lead in the match.
But Maninder continued his good work on the night and brought his team right back into the game with a Super Raid, levelling the score at 23-23 and reducing U.P. Yoddha to just two men on the mat in return. Maninder then inflicted an All-Out on U.P. Yoddha to take his team’s score to 28-26.
Captain Devadiga delivered yet again for his team, getting Surjeet Singh and Tewthia to level the score while leaving the entire right side of Bengal Warriors’ defence briefly short-handed.
Cover Jeeva Kumar joined the party as he tackled the almost unstoppable Maninder Singh with just a couple of minutes left in the match. Jang Kun Lee got a quick bonus to level the score and put the onus on U.P. Yoddha to score.
Their strategy worked when youngster Adarsh delivered what seemed like the killer blow at the time when he tackled Devadiga to give his side a one-point-lead with just seconds left.
But the drama never ceased in this match as Jang Kun Lee’s attempt to get a running hand touch made him lose his footing and he accidentally stepped into the lobby to induce a self-out and level the score at 30-30.
Devadiga put in an empty raid, seemingly content with the draw, but Surjeet Singh had other ideas as he came in to raid for the first time in the match and seemed to have made a Toe Touch to earn his side a point and a dramatic victory.
A review from U.P. Yoddha, though, suggested that Surjeet Singh didn’t get a touch on the defender and this dramatic contest finally ended in a draw.