HIL: Kalinga Lancers, UP Wizards play 2-2 draw

Lucknow, Feb 10 (IANS) Gonzalo Peillat’s successful penalty corner conversion at the dead end helped Uttar Pradesh Wizards hold Kalinga Lancers 2-2 in the Coal India Hockey India League (HIL) at the Major Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium here on Friday.

After V.R. Raghunath scored a penalty corner in the 15th minute for the hosts, German veteran Moritz Fuerste (15th and 51st) put the visitors on the brink of a crucial victory. But Argentine Peillat found the back of the net after the final hooter to earn two points for the hosts.

With the league inching closer to a stage where the teams are calculating their chances for the semi-finals, it was a very crucial match for both the teams.

The action-packed first quarter saw both teams lived up to the expectations. They were racing out of the blocks at a frenetic pace, attacking each other. As a result the dying minutes saw both teams scored back-to-back to maintain the pressure.

In the 15th minute, UP Wizards won a penalty corner and star drag-flicker Raghunath found the back of the net to give his team a crucial lead. Soon after the goal, in the same minute, Lancers skipper Furste equalised the score-line via a penalty corner which he slammed to the left bottom corner.

In the second quarter, Lancers goalkeeper Andrew Charter shone bright as he pulled off a miraculous save to deny Uttar Pradesh a field goal and a penalty corner.

Lancers soon pulled up their socks and as a result they won a penalty corner, and following the missed hit, UP counter-attacked. With goalkeeper Charter at the mercy, Ramandeep Singh failed to find the target, sending the ball wide off the right post.

UP Wizards then had to face the barrage of attacks from Kalinga. A diving Belgian defender Van Doren made a crucial interception to deny Dharamvir Singh before Sreejesh cleared it.

In the last quarter, Kalinga came out all guns blazing as they attacked with more pace. After 10 minutes of game, they got the vital lead when Furste fired a very similar goal to the first one he scored. It was the two-time Olympic gold medallist’s sixth penalty corner goal of the tournament.

UP Wizards made desperate attempts to come back into the game in the last quarter, making forays into the circle but could not quite make much of the chances.

But at the stroke of the final hooter, the hosts won a penalty corner, earned after a Pardeep Mor’s defencive infringment barely 10 seconds before the hooter. Aftet the hooter, Argentine Augustin Mazzilli appealed successfully for a penalty corner which was duely converted by compatriot Peillat to level the match.

“It was tough to concede a penalty corner after the whistle,” Furste moaned after being awarded man-of-the-match.

–IANS

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