Hockey

Lancers go one better, lift HIL title

Over the moon: The Kalinga Lancers players hammered Dabang Mumbai 4-1 in the final.

Over the moon: The Kalinga Lancers players hammered Dabang Mumbai 4-1 in the final.   | Photo Credit: Akhilesh Kumar

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Kalinga Lancers went a step further from its runner-up finish last year, taking home the trophy in the fifth season of the Hockey India League (HIL) after a convincing 4-1 win in the final against Dabang Mumbai, whose fairytale journey through the tournament did not quite have the end it sought.

Captain Moritz Fuerste and experienced Glenn Turner, who have been at the forefront of Lancers’s campaign all through this season, continued their terrific form to end as top-scorers of the league with 12 goals apiece. Ten of those for Fuerste came through penalty corners, including two in the final, the last one in 59th minute to seal victory in his team’s favour. Turner put his team ahead in the 18th minute with a brilliant diving deflection and Fuerste increased the lead at the stroke of half time before Affan Yousuf pulled one back.

Mumbai, on the other hand, faltered at the final hurdle after a dominating season that saw it beat every team with authority, but not for want of effort. It created the opportunities, attacked with vigour and, trailing 1-3, spent the last 10 minutes parked in Lancers half but could not find the elusive goals.

The young defence trio of Lancers — Dipsan Tirkey, Amit Rohidaas and Matthew Dawson — made sure there were no unnecessary tackles and were impressive in keeping their feet out of play. A penalty corner for Dabang was cancelled after referral, as was a field goal by Kieran Govers in the 58th minute for the ball rising dangerously. Three back-to-back penalty corners in the final minute also went waste.

The match was all but sealed then but Fuerste stamped his name at the top of scorers list with his final strike and lifted his second HIL title and also became the second player to do so as skipper of two different teams after Sardar Singh.

Earlier, Uttar Pradesh Wizards overcame the disappointment of losing the semifinal in shoot-outs to defeat Delhi Waveriders 5-4 and finish third for the second time.

In a match that saw both teams exchanging honours and possession repeatedly, it was Waveriders who stepped up the attack early on and created chances.

Justin Reid-Ross’s shot in the 15th minute deflected off V.R. Raghunath’s stick for a rare own goal but thereafter the Wizards defence tightened up. At the other end, Waveriders were equally solid in defence before Shamsher Singh struck one in after being put through by Chinglensana Singh.

Rupinder Pal Singh got two penalty corners right and Gonzalo Peillat one. Wizrads custodian P.R. Sreejesh was kept busy by Mandeep Singh and Niklas Wellen but managed to hold on. Waveriders goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch too denied Wizards several times, including in a one-on-one situation with Ajay Yadav and back-to-back shots from Ajitesh Roy and Florent van Aubel.

But a goalmouth melee in the 56th minute saw Agustin Mazzilli get the winner.

The results (final):

Kalinga Lancers 4 (Moritz Fuerste 2 PCs, Glenn Turner 2 FG) bt Dabang Mumbai 1 (Affan Yousuf 1 PC); Third place playoff: Uttar Pradesh Wizards 5 (Shamsher Singh 2 FG, Agustin Mazzilli 2 FG, Gonzalo Peillat 1 PC) bt Delhi Waveriders 4 (Justin Reid-Ross 2 FG, Rupinder Pal Singh 2 PCs).

Cash awards: Winner: Kalinga Lancers (Rs. 2.5 crore); Runner-up: Dabang Mumbai (Rs. 1.25 crore); Third place: Uttar Pradesh Wizards (Rs. 75 lakh).

Fairplay Trophy: Kalinga Lancers.

Top-scorer: Moritz Fuerste and Glenn Turner (12 goals each, Rs. 20 lakh).

Upcoming Player: Harmanpreet Singh (Rs. 20 lakh).

Player-of-the-Tournament: Florian Fuchs (Rs. 50 lakh).

Achiever-of-the-Tournament: Florian Fuchs (Rs. 10 lakh).

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 1:50:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/lancers-go-one-better-lift-hil-title/article17372118.ece

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