Hard work and dedication proved to be fruitful for the Kalinga Lancers in the latest edition of the Coal India Hockey India League. The runners-up during the 4th edition last year, came back strongly in this year’s 5th edition and secured a podium finish by winning over Dabang Mumbai. On the other hand, this is the first for the Mumbai team too, appearing in the final.
The first early minutes were balanced with the ball rotation spread equally between the teams. Not until the 18th minute of the game did we see a goal being scored. The Lancers attacked fiercely and then Glenn Turner managed a goal after a brilliant pass from Lalit Upadhyay. Although the Warriors did manage to break in the defence of the Mumbai team, they could not really get the ball into the net. Pulling from the duo, Mumbai’s Affan Yousuf rushed into the enemy territory making a few passes and when finally he received the ball he could not manage to hit the ball perfectly and went straight into the hands of Charter.
During the penultimate minutes of the 2nd quarter, the Kalinga Lancers were awarded a penalty for the scuffle. And Aran Zalewski wasted no time in sending it right into the net.
Just after half-time, Dabang Mumbai scored their maiden goal with Keiran Govers scoring for the team through a penalty corner. Dabang Mumbai now trailed 1-3. Mumbai could manage to pass through the strong defence of the Kalinga Lancers but had failed in several attempts to move the scoreboard in their favour. Charter, the dedicated goalkeeper for Kalinga Lancers made sure no ball passed by him; he saved 2 penalty corners for his team.
Despite the several desperate attempts for securing a goal, Mumbai could not manage more in the second half. To add salt to their wounds, just before the final whistle, Fuerste made his second goal (30th, 58th) of the game where both came from penalty corners. The match ended 4-1 for Kalinga Lancers.
The bronze match saw the defending champions Delhi Wave riders take on UP Wizards. Although the Wave Riders managed to take a 3-2 lead, they failed to defend their area and the UP Wizards quickly rose to 3-4. The Delhi team had a final chance of scoring through a penalty corner, unfortunately, they could not secure the goal and UP Wizards took the Bronze medal.
However, Dabang Mumbai won 3 of the 5 miscellaneous awards – the Player of the Tournament for Florian Fuchs, Upcoming player of the tournament for Harmanpreet Singh, and Achiever of the tournament for Florian Fuchs. The other 2 awards are for Highest goal scorer jointly owned by Glenn Turner and Moritz Furste (12 Goals, Kalinga Warriors) and Fairplay award for Kalinga Warriors.