Kalinga Lancers has the last laugh in HIL final

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.

Jubilant Kalinga Lancers players celebrate their victory over Dabang Mumbai in the Hockey India League final.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

 

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 Kalinga’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 the win 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 Kalinga's half but could not find the elusive goals.

 

Kalinga’s young defence trio of 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 Mumbai 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 with his final strike and lift his second HIL title and the second one to do so as skipper of two different teams after Sardar Singh.

Earlier, Uttar Pradesh Wizards overcame the disappointment of losing the semi-final in shoot-outs to defeat Delhi Waveriders 5-4 and finish third for the second time in the HIL. In a match that saw both teams exchanging the honours and the possession repeatedly, it was Delhi that stepped up the attack early on and created chances.

Justin Reid-Ross’s shot in the 15th minute deflected off VR Raghunath's stick for a rare own goal but thereafter the UPW defence tightened up. At the other end, Delhi was equally solid in its defending before Shamsher Singh snuck one in after being put through by Chinglensana Singh.

Rupinder Pal Singh got two penalty corners right and Gonzalo Peillat one. UPW custodian PR Sreejesh was kept busy by Mandeep Singh and Niklas Wellen but managed to hold on. Delhi goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch too denied UPW 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 result:

Final: Kalinga Lancers 4 (Moritz Fuerste 2 PCs, Glenn Turner 2 FG) beat Dabang Mumbai 1 (Affan Yousuf 1 PC).

3rd place playoff: Uttar Pradesh Wizards 5 (Shamsher Singh 2 FG, Agustin Mazzilli 2 FG, Gonzalo Peillat 1 PC) beat Delhi Waveriders 4 (Justin Reid-Ross 2 FG, Rupinder Pal Singh 2 PCs).

Role of Honours

Winner: Kalinga Lancers (Rs. 2.5 crore)

Runner-up: Dabang Mumbai (1.25 crore)

3rd place: Uttar Pradesh Wizards (75 lakh)

Fairplay Trophy: Kalinga Lancers

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

Upcoming Player of the Tournament: Harmanpreet Singh (20 lakh)

Player of the Tournament: Florian Fuchs (50 lakh)

Achiever of the Tournament: Florian Fuchs (10 lakh)