HIL: Kalinga Lancers start campaign on winning note

Drag-flicker Gurjinder Singh converted Kalinga Lancer's lone penalty corner in the fourth quarter to enable the host start its Hockey India League (HIL) campaign with a 1-0 win over Delhi Waveriders at the Kalinga Stadium here on Sunday.

Lancers' captain Moritz Furste impressed with his distribution skill while Tom Craig had some fantastic runs on the left flank.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Drag-flicker Gurjinder Singh converted Kalinga Lancer's lone penalty corner in the fourth quarter to enable the host start its Hockey India League (HIL) campaign with a 1-0 win over Delhi Waveriders at the Kalinga Stadium here on Sunday.

Waveriders suffered because of its finishing woes as Lancers, the last year's runner-up, notched up full points.

Both teams preferred to have possession and look for openings in the opening quarter.

Lancers' captain Moritz Furste impressed with his distribution skill while Tom Craig had some fantastic runs on the left flank but could not find a partner to capitalise on his speed.

Waveriders had a fine chance to grab lead in the ninth minute but Mandeep Singh, who received the ball on the edge of the circle, hit wide of the far post.

The touring side surprised the host with some rapid raids early in the second quarter. It came close to score one off a combined effort. Parvinder Singh's spectacular pass to Mandeep even after falling inside the Lancers' circle. Rupinder tried to slot it in off Mandeep's touch but hit it to the goalkeeper.

Waveriders got another chance by earning a penalty corner in the 21st minute. However, the brave Matthew Dawson advanced quickly to block Rupinder's drag-flick in time.

Dawson was also good with his exceptional tackling and made a good combination with Amit Rohidas to mark the opposition players well and keep the Lancers post safe.

The home team replied with a united effort but Billy Bakker's execution was not good enough in the crowded Delhi circle.

The persistent Waveriders frontline again missed the target narrowly when Simon Child's diving deflection off Talwinder's pass sailed over the bar.

The Delhi forwards kept pressing and earned three more short corners in the penultimate quarter. However, a dashing Rohidas and an alert goakeeper, Abhinav Pandey, foiled all attempts to the delight of the packed house.

However, it was Lancers which broke the deadlock. Making immediate forays, the host earned its first penalty corner within two minutes of the final period and Gurjinder's high drag-flick to the right of the goalkeeper provided Lancers the breakthrough.

In the closing minutes, Waveriders got two consecutive short corners, the first one off a successful referral, but could not find the equaliser.

The result: Kalinga Lancers 1 (Gurjinder Singh 47) bt Delhi Waveriders 0.