Bhubaneswar :Defending champions Ranchi Rays came from behind to eke out a 3-2 victory over Kalinga Lancers in the Hockey India League (HIL).
With this win Ranchi Rays go top of the table with 27 points. The first quarter of the match between the table toppers Kalinga Lancers and Ranchi Rays started on an attacking note with both the teams pressing hard to take the early advantage.
Kalinga Lancers drew first blood in the 9th minute with a field goal from Dharamvir Singh. The visiting team made a comeback in the next minute with an excellent penalty corner conversion from the Ranchi Rays captain Ashley Jackson.
The second quarter started with Ranchi Rays building up pressure on the home team with lots of passes and strong midfield play. The away team put together some good attacking moves but failed to equalise. The score at half-time stood at 2-1 in favour of Kalinga Lancers.
Ranchi Rays started the third quarter on an attacking note. Kalinga Lancers were put on the backfoot from the start of the quarter and weren’t allowed to go past the half line. The end of the third quarter saw some nice attacking moves from the home team but none were converted. The third quarter ended with the score still at 2-1 in favour of the home team.
The fourth quarter started with the home team looking energised and playing with a new strategy of pressing hard to score. The pressing game soon gave the opportunity to the away team to counter attack and they scored in the 49th minute through Mohd Amir Khan which gave Ranchi Rays a one-goal lead at a critical juncture of the game.
Kalinga Lancers started pressing hard in order to equalise and got an opportunity to score in the 53rd minute but failed to convert the penalty corner. The last moments of the game saw numerous attacking moves but none of them were converted into a goal and Ranchi Rays won the match.
The Man of the Match award was given to Mohd. Amir Khan of Ranchi Rays.