Wednesday, December 08, 2021

HIL 2017: A matter of Child-play as Delhi beat Kalinga Lancers

There was intensity in Delhi Waveriders’ display, and they were first to almost every loose ball.

Written by Tushar Bhaduri | New Delhi |
February 13, 2017 12:36:33 am
HIL, HIL 2016, Hockey India league, Delhi Waveriders Kalinga Lancers, Delhi vs Kalinga, Parvinder Singh, hockey news, Hockey Delhi Waveriders team playing in Hockey India League. (Source: HIL)

Big players make big plays at big moments of matches, and it was evident as Delhi Waveriders came out on top in a thrilling encounter against Kalinga Lancers in the Hockey India League on Sunday. The match was a topsy-turvy affair with the home team leading 3-0 till the 40th minute, but finding themselves 3-4 down with three minutes left, only to convert a penalty corner and score a field goal to grab five points with a 6-4 victory. It was one of the best games of the current HIL season and big names such as Rupinder Pal Singh, Moritz Fuerste and Simon Child stepped up to the plate when the going got tough. It was Kiwi Child who became the hosts’ hero with the winner in the 59th minute.

It was the second successive win for the home team, and though they remain in fifth position, they will now have renewed belief after going winless in their first four matches.   The 8-1 thrashing of Uttar Pradesh Wizards had been a shot in the arm for the Waveriders, and they were the more threatening side in the opening exchanges, even though the visitors came closest to scoring in the seventh minute. Midfielder Dharamvir Singh found himself with a bit of space in the striking circle, but his reverse hit was well saved by goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch.

But the hosts’ good approach play was rewarded a couple of minutes later, when the impressive Talwinder Singh was at the right place at the right time to bundle home from close range after a splendid team move from the left flank. Cedric D’Souza’s team took charge of proceedings thereafter, and the Lancers were restricted to mounting counter-attacks. The big overseas stars among the visitors—Fuerste, Glenn Turner and Billy Bakker— were effectively shackled in the early going, and when they did find space, the trio failed to make full use of the opportunities.

The extent of dominance of the home team can be gauged from the fact that they earned as many as six penalty corners in the opening two quarters, while the Lancers managed just one. And they went 3-0 ahead a minute before half time, when South African Justin Reid-Ross powered a low drag-flick into the left corner past young goalkeeper Abhinav Kumar Pandey, to the delight of a much bigger and livelier crowd at the Shivaji Stadium.

All intensity

There was intensity in the Waveriders’ display, and they were first to almost every loose ball. Little-known Austrian Benjamin Stanzl also caught the eye with his penetrating forays into the Lancers defence. But top players cannot be kept quiet for long. The Lancers came all guns blazing in the third quarter and pinned the Waveriders in their own half. It was Fuerste who brought the visitors back into the match when his probing run and pinpoint pass found an unattended Dharamvir Singh inside the ‘D’ and the India international made no mistake.

Mark Hager’s men also won three penalty corners in the third period, but they went in vain, even though they believed they had scored a field goal off the last one, which was disallowed on referral.

Even Lady Luck seemed to be on Delhi’s side as Gurjinder Singh’s effort returned off the post. But the German Fuerste was not to be denied. With six minutes left, he turned a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead when he received a great diagonal pass from Amit Rohidas and slammed a reverse hit to make it 4-3. Now the hosts had no option but to charge forward. When they earned their seventh penalty corner, Reid-Ross was not on the field and the responsibility fell on skipper Rupinder, who had not had much joy from drag-flicks thus far in the tournament.

But the lanky defender rose to the occasion and found the top corner to level the score. But the Waveriders were not satisfied with a share of the spoils, and with a minute left, the ever lively Mandeep Singh drove into the Lancers ‘D’ and set up Child for an instinctive finish.

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