UP Wizards beat Kalinga Lancers 8-6 in HIL thrilling opener
Uttar Pradesh Wizards eked out a dramatic 8-6 victory over Kalinga Lancers in a high-scoring thriller with two goals coming in the final minute as the fourth edition of Hockey India League made a sensational start under new field goal rules here on Monday.
It was goals galore in the inaugural match of the tournament, which produced seven field goals and a big crowd as the Kalinga Stadium enjoyed every moment of the game.
With an aim to make it more exciting for the fans, the organisers had introduced the innovative rule of one field goal counting as two so as to encourage and reward more such strikes. Goals from penalty corners are counted as one as usual.
All the goals scored on Monday were field goals and the crowd could not have asked for a better start to the tournament, though the home supporters would have been disappointed as their team lost on Monday. Fortunes fluctuated in the edge-of-the-seat match with the Wizards 4-2 up at the end of the first quarter before the Lancers made a remarkable recovery to lead 6-4 till the final minute.
Just as it seemed that the home side would run away with a come-from-behind victory, the Wizards struck two field goals in the final minute to win the match in dramatic fashion. Wouter Jolie (9th minute), who scored the first field goal of the HIL, Kenneth Bain (14th), Edward Ockenden (60th) and Akashdeep Singh (60th) struck for the Wizards, while Pardeep Mor (15th) and Glenn Turner (29th and 37th) found the target for the Lancers. There was also some dramatic moments towards the close as Wizards captain V R Raghunath missed a penalty stroke three minutes before the final hooter and his side were trailing 4-6 at that time.
It looked like the Wizards have lost the match with their skipper’s blunder but they regrouped immediately and scored twice to win the game.