New Delhi, Feb 12:
Simon Child’s field goal at the death helped Delhi Waveriders overcame a riveting comeback from Kalinga Lancers 6-4 in the Coal India Hockey India League (HIL) at the Shivaji Stadium here on Sunday.
Talwinder Singh’s field goal in the ninth minute and Justin Reid-Ross’ penalty corner conversion meant that Delhi took a 3-0 lead at the half-time but Kalinga to put up a spirited show to come from behind and lead 4-3 via goals from Dharmvir Singh (40th) and Moritz Furste (54th).
However, Rupinder Pal Singh’s penalty corner conversion in the 57th minute and Child’s field goal in the 59th minute sealed the match for Delhi.
For Delhi, it was their second win on the trot. Coming off with an 8-1 hammering of Uttar Pradesh Wizards, the hosts looked the favourites from the push-back.
From the beginning, end-to-end action ensued and Dharmvir was the first one to get a goal-scoring chance as a close-range back-hander forced a save from Delhi goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch in the first minute.
Kalinga, who needed a win to virtually qualify for the semi-finals, made a strong statement of intent by putting deep-lying playmaker Furste in the attacking line. The tactic of putting the veteran German at the front enabled more attacking options but the technical and tactical nous provided by Furste seemed to expose Kalinga’s young defence.
And Delhi regularly breached the midfield to enter Kalinga’s citadel. The hosts went ahead in the ninth minute when Mandeep Singh’s left baseline cross was tapped in by Talwinder, beating Kalinga’s young goalkeeper Abhinav Kumar Pandey at the near post.
The goal helped Delhi take the reins of the match and enjoyed the ball possession. They also earned three penalty corners in the second quarter but Rupinder and Reid-Ross’ flicks were unable to breach Kalinga’s wall.
Meanwhile, Kalinga Lancers charged inside the Delhi circle with two quick counter-attacks and earned a penalty corner in the 27th minute but Furste’s flick was negated by the first runner.
In the turnover, Delhi earned a penalty corner and South African Reid-Ross made amends for his earlier mistake by converting one in the 29th minute to make it 3-0.
After the change of ends, Kalinga, trailing by three goals, looked determined. Furste’s drive after a penalty corner push was not stopped properly hit the right post.
Kalinga continued their push and Glenn Turner played a pass to the right finding Dharamvir and the latter slotted home from a very tight angle to bring the match alive in the 40th minute.
Kalinga caused further danger to the hosts and got two penalty corner in the final three minutes of the third and penultimate corner. In the first one, Furste’s flick was denied by Vanasch, who stretched his right leg to keep the danger away. The second one was not stopped properly.
Kalinga inflicted further pressure on Delhi in the final quarter. The presence of Furste enabled the attacking build-up in the rival circle and their consistent penetration gave them the result. Amit Rohidas played a square pass to the left breaching through couple of Delhi defenders. The ball reached Furste and the double Olympic champion with Germany employed a backhander to make it 4-3 with six minutes to go.
For Delhi, it was a matter of waiting for their game and a counter-attack followed, resulting in a penalty corner which was converted by Rupinder to bring his level 4-4 in the following minute.
Another counter-attack, driven by Mandeep followed and in the resulting goal-melee, New Zealander Child put the ball out of the goalkeeper’s grasp to poke home in the 59th minute. The goal meant Delhi walked away winners 6-4 to post a crucial victory.
Despite the loss, Kalinga remained second with 23 points from nine games, while Delhi too were static at the fifth spot with 15 points from six games.
Dabang Mumbai are on top with 28 points from eight games, while third-placed Ranchi Rays have 18 points from eight matches. Jaypee Punjab Warriors are in the fourth spot with 17 points from six games. Uttar Pradesh Wizards occupy the sixth position. (IANS)