Kalinga Lancers, might have lost badly (5-0) in their 1st encounter against Delhi Waveriders, but today at the Kalinga Stadium, the Odisha outfit put up a brave fight against the Delhi franchise and went down by 4-3 in the league match of Hero Hockey India League 2014.
As expected, the Delhi Waveriders seized the early initiative and opened the scoring in the fourth minute through Rupinderpal Singh, who made use of their first penalty corner with a powerful flick to notch up his fourth goal of the tournament.
The Kalinga Lancers created a few bright openings but the Waveriders defense was up to the task to thwart any danger to their citadel as the visitors ended the first quarter with a slender one-goal lead.
The Kalinga Lancers made a strong comeback in the second quarter and drew level in the 22nd minute when Lucas Vila scored from the spot after they were awarded a penalty stroke following Rupinder’s foul inside the circle.
After a sedate first 17-and-half minutes, both the teams produced attacking hockey in the fiercely competitive second quarter.
An opportunistic Simon Child restored Waveriders ‘ lead in the 28th minute after latching on to a loose ball inside the Lancers’ circle.
Just four minutes into the second half, Child (40th minute) was again at the thick of things and helped the Delhi Waveriders extend their lead with a diving field goal after being fed by Yuvraj Walmiki.
But the Kalinga Lancers replied back strongly with persistent attacks and managed to secure three penalty corners in quick time, the last of which was converted by Argentine dragflicker Gonzalo Peillat (46th minute) to raise hopes of the home team.
The goal seemed to have pumped up the Kalinga Lancers as they started the fourth quarter on a positive note and drew parity through another penalty corner strike from Vila (57th minute).
But some sloppy defending allowed the Delhi Waveriders to restore their lead two minutes later through veteran Arjun Halappa (59th minute), who collected his own rebound to scoop the ball over Kalinga Lancers goalie Harjot Singh.
The win propelled the Delhi Waveriders to the second position in the standings with 17 points from five games, while the Kalinga Lancers have garnered six points from four outings (Latest Points Table here).
Simon Child bagged all the three Hero Man of the Match, Hero Goal of the Match and Yes Bank Garv awards of the evening.
Speaking after the match, Sardar Singh, Captain of Delhi Waveriders said, “It was a close match today. We beat Kalinga Lancers at Delhi early this week by a big margin but when we saw their yesterday’s match, we knew they would fight back and we will have to put full force to beat them. The crowd also supported them today but we were a tad better. Going forward I think Kalinga Lancers will be a force to reckon with and will emerge strong contender of the Trophy.”
Addressing the press conference Terry Walsh, Coach of Kalinga Lancers said, “Today we played very well. It was a good game. I am happy with the overall performance of the team though we failed to convert many chances into goals. We also need to focus on penalty corners. Our forthcoming practice sessions will focus on this aspect more.”
Prabodh Tirkey, Captain of Kalinga Lancers said, “Today our coordination was very good. Technically and strategically we played much better than before. The opponent however played very well. We need three continuous wins to come in the top four and will strive hard to be there. Looking forward to win the League.”
The Delhi Waveriders will next play Uttar Pradesh Wizards at their home ground in capital’s Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on February 5, while the Kalinga Lancers will travel to Ranchi to face defending champions Ranchi Rhinos on February 7 (Full Schedule here).