HIL: Punjab Warriors seal semis berth

The match ended with four goals to each sides and marked the first draw of the fourth Hockey India League.

Punjab Warriors became the second team to book a berth for the playoffs.   -  IHL

Punjab Warriors displayed spectacular hockey to come back from behind to finish their clash against Kalinga Lancers in a tie. The match ended with four goals to each sides and marked the first draw of the fourth Hockey India League.

Punjab Warriors with 29 points became the second team after table toppers Ranchi Rays to book a berth for the playoffs.

The match began with the visitors pressing hard to score. While Punjab Warriors put up a decent show in the first few minutes, the Kalinga Lancers set up a strong attacking front to break through the hosts’ defensive wall.

The Lancers drew first blood in the 14th minute through a field goal from Malak Singh, which helped them take an early lead of 2-0 over the Warriors in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the Lancers played a very attacking game. The visitors tried hard to capitalise on their lead but, some beautiful work from the defenders and the goalkeeper ensured that Kalinga Lancers did not cause them any further damage.

The Lancers, however, did not lose hope and their efforts finally yielded results with a second field goal from Quirjin Caspers in the 29th minute extending their lead to 4-0 in the match at the end of the second quarter.

The third quarter began with Punjab Warriors looking more organised with synchronised moves. They displayed the intent to score, but the Lancers seemed way more in control of the game, denying the hosts any chance to score.

Kalinga were unable to score due to some scintillating saves from Triston Clemans.

Punjab Warriors, who seemed to be playing with a different strategy in the second half stuck to the basics and kept on attacking at regular interval. They finally found success through a field goal from Matthew Ghodes in the 35th minute taking the score to 2-4 still in the favour of the Lancers.

The rest of the third quarter saw many attacking moves from both the teams, but none of them could materialise into a goal.

The final quarter of the match began with the Lancers trying hard to score but the Warriors defenders proved their worth keeping the visitors’ forward line at bay. The hosts tasted success until the 59th minute when a spectacular field goal from Jake Whetton finally got the hosts the much needed equaliser in the match.

The playoffs and finals will be played at the Astro Turf hockey stadium in Ranchi on the 20th and 21st February.