Out of contention for a semifinal berth, debutants Kalinga Lancers produced an impressive show to stun defending champions Ranchi Rhinos 4-1 in their penultimate game of the Hero Hockey India League (HHIL) 2014 in front of home crowd at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar today.
Kalinga Lancers were in control of the match for major part of 70 minutes to avenge upon their 2-3 loss at the hands of same opponents in their previous meeting this year.
The first quarter saw both the teams adopting a cautious approach and were content to play the waiting game.
Kalinga Lancers and ranchi Rhinos were able to create quite a few impressive attacks but their forays fizzled out once inside the opposition circle as the backline of both the teams stood tall.
Kalinga Lancers were under no pressure and it resembled in their performance as they went all out.
The hosts stunned Ranchi Rhinos in the 23rd minute when Aron Zelewski scored a field goal.
Kalinga Lancers doubled their lead five minutes later through Devinder Walmiki (28th minute), who scored from a rebound after Ranchi Rhinos goalie Sushant Tirkey denied Gozalo Peillat from the hosts first penalty corner.
Ranchi Rhinos were surprised when Peillat converted his side’s second penalty corner in the 33rd minute to give Kalinga Lancers a comfortable 3-0 lead at the half-way mark.
As has been the story in the opening 35 minutes, Kalinga Lancers continued to enjoy the lions’ share of possession after the breather but failed to extend their lead despite making some impressive forays.
Ranchi Rhinos did manage to pull one back in the 45th minute through Pradhan Somanna’s field goal from close range to keep his team’s hopes alive.
It was a treat for the home as Peillat scored from a field effort in the final minute of the match to make the scoreline 4-1 and help the Lancers register their second win in the tournament.
Kalinga Lancers pocketed five points from the match and took their tally to 16 points from nine games.
Ranchi Rhinos had to return empty-handed from the game and remained static on the fouth position in the standings with 24 points from eight matches.
Hero Goal of the match winner – Aron Zalewski
YES Bank Garv Award winner – Gonzalo Peillat
Man of the Match – Gonzalo Peillat
Elated at the win, Terry Walsh, Coach of Kalinga Lancers said, “Today our team played very well and I am proud of my boys. They played great game. We followed the systematic process which is very important and the result is in front of you. The crowd support was huge and players are also very excited. This time has been a learning experience for us. We will try our luck in the next League.”
Prabodh Tirkey, Captain of Kalinga Lancers said, “.”We did fantastic today and converted all penalty corners into goals. Now we are out of the tournament and this being our last game, we fully dedicate this to the fantastic crowd that supported us thru out the match.”
Kalinga Lancers will round off the campaign this year against Dabur Mumbai Magicians in Mumbai on Saturday, while Ranchi Rhinos will face Jaypee Punjab Warriors on the same day in Mohali.