Warriors storm into final

Punjab side to meet Lancers for top honours

Warriors storm into final

 Jaypee Punjab Warriors made it to the third final with a 3-1 win over Delhi Waveriders while it will be a maiden summit clash for Kalinga Lancers who ousted defending champions Ranchi Rays 4-2 in the Hockey India League, here on Saturday.

In the first match between Punjab and Delhi, the first quarter of the game started with both the teams playing cautiously, observing the game plan of each other.

Both teams looked for counter attacking opportunities and the first major chance came Delhi’s way in the 6th minute through a penalty corner, which was converted effectively by Rupinder Pal Singh to give the team an early lead.

This was Rupinder’s 12th goal of the tournament.
Delhi maintained their 1-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, and the second quarter expectedly saw Punjab Warriors pressing hard to establish equilibrium.

Punjab efforts paid dividends in the 19th minute when young striker Armaan Qureshi netted the ball through a reverse flick shot that beat Devon Manchester. This field goal helped Punjab take a 2-1 lead.

They got another opportunity to extend the lead in the 27th minute but failed to convert the penalty corner chance.

The Punjab side kept the pressure on with SV Sunil making two good circle penetrations, though he could not converted either into a goal.

The first half ended with the Warriors leading 2-1.
Punjab continued to dominate in the third quarter and although Delhi came close to scoring in the 39th minute through Justin Reid Ross, the deflected shot went past the goal post.

Their tactics came handy as a high ball from across the field was stopped by Matt Gohdes and deflected onto the foot of Delhi defender that give Punjab a penalty corner.

The opportunity was well converted by Simon Orchard in the 51st minute and that gave Punjab a two-goal cushion.

Delhi tried their best to make a come back in the dying minutes of the match but a strong defence and good goalkeeping from Tristan Clemons kept them at bay.

The second semifinal was a nail-biter. Lancers held their nerves to come out victorious in the match which was decided by a penalty shoot-out after the score was tied at 2-2 at the end of four quarters.

The shootout started on a low key note for the Ranchi Rays as their captain Ashley Jackson missed the first attempt while for the Lancers, skipper Moritz Fuerste scored. Ranchi Rays managed to score their next two penalty shots but Lancers goalkeeper Abhinav Kumar Pandey ensured that Rays did not score their fourth shot which was taken by Barry Middleton.

Aran Zalewski converted his penalty shot to win the match for Kalinga Lancers by 4-2 in the shoot–out.

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