Ranchi, Feb 20 (IANS) Kalinga Lancers beat defending champions Ranchi Rays 4-2 in a tense penalty shootout at the second semi-final of the Hockey India League (HIL) here on Saturday to storm into the final.
The Lancers will face Punjab Warriors in the ultimate contest here on Sunday.
Saturday’s game was locked at 2-2 after and then the shootout started on a low note for Rays, the defending champions, as their captain Ashley Jackson missed the first one.
Kalinga captain Moritz Fuerste kept his calm to score his penalty and give his team a 1-0 lead in the shoot-out. The Rays managed to score their next two penalty shots but the Lancers goal keeper ensured they did not convert their fourth attempt which was taken by Barry Middleton.
Aran Zalewski then slammed in his chance to win it for the Lancers.
The first quarter of the clash witnessed the hosts having the upper hand. Rays made a few circle penetrations in the first 10 minutes of the game but could not convert any of the chances.
The first quarter ended with the score at 0-0. The second quarter saw the Lancers getting their first opportunity from a counter attack which was converted into a penalty corner in the 22nd minute. Gurjinder Singh converted it successfully to give the visitors a well-deserved lead.
The third quarter saw a slow start with most of the game being played on the mid field. The Rays however, had two penalty corners which were brilliantly defended by the rival rearguard.
The final five minutes of the match saw the Rays attacking to get a goal and their efforts finally paid off in the 57th minute when Trent Mitton converted a penalty corner cleverly to equalize at a crucial moment.
Lancers immediately responded with Fuerste’s strike at the other end via another penalty corner, which gave them a 2-1 lead.
At the last minute of the game, Timothy Deavin restored parity for his side with another goal from a penalty corner which took the game to penalties.
In the first semi-final, Warriors saw off a strong challenge from Delhi Waveriders to carve out a 3-1 victory.
Young striker Armaan Qureshi (19th minute) scored a field goal for the Warriors while Simon Orchard (51st) converted a penalty corner in the closing stages. Field goals are being counted as two in this edition of the HIL.
Experienced dragflicker Rupinder Pal Singh (6th) had given Waveriders the early lead from a penalty corner.