Lancers Outscore Rays in HIL Opener

Kalinga quell late fightback by visitors in high-scoring encounter

Published: 23rd January 2015 12:06 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd January 2015 04:20 AM   |  A+A-


BHUBANESWAR: Home favourites Kalinga Lancers kick-started the third edition of the Hero Hockey India League with a commanding 6-3 win over neighbours Ranchi Rays in a high-scoring opening match here at the Kalinga Stadium Hockey Complex on Thursday.

Spurred by a 7,000-strong capacity crowd and led from the front by new captain Vickram Kanth, Lancers scored five field goals and converted one penalty corner to start their campaign on flying note.

This was the Lancers’ second win in three matches against the Ranchi outfit in the history of the HIL.

Well-trained by new coach Jude Felix, Lancers played aggressive hockey, displaying fine coordination between all three departments and coming out deserving winners. Argentine forward Lucas Vila drew first blood for Lancers, scoring a field goal off a solo move early in the third minute.

The home side won three back-to-back penalty corners eight minutes later only to waste them all. Star drag-flicker Gonzalo Peillat squandered the first two, while the ball could was stopped on the third occasion.

The first quarter, however, ended 1-1 as England mid-fielder Barry Middleton equalized for Rays, converting a PC with a reverse hit in the 14th minute.

Dominating the second quarter, Lancers took a 3-1 lead, firing two field goals through midfielder Ryan Archibald and captain Vickram Kanth in the 17th and 18th minutes respectively.

Both teams were evenly matched in the third quarter, with Rays’ captain Ashley Jackson scoring their second goal from a penalty corner in the 36th minute and Lancers’ drag-flick specialist Gurjinder Singh repeating the act one minute later.

Jackson kept Rays’ fight going in the fast-paced match, converting another penalty corner and reducing the Lancers’ lead to 4-3. But the home team finished the game on a dazzling note, sounding the board twice in space of two minutes.

Mandeep Antil made the scoreline 5-3, netting a field goal off a Russell Ford pass in the 58th minute and Mohammad Amir Khan capped the emphatic win with a field goal two minutes later.

Amir Khan received the goal of the match prize of `25,000, while Vickram Kanth walked away with the man of the match trophy, which also carried a cash prize of `25,000.

The third edition of the HIL was earlier inaugurated by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The opening match was preceded by an hour-long entertainment programme, featuring laser show and fireworks.


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