Gurjinder Singh keeps Kalinga Semifinals Hopes Alive

The bottom most teams of Hockey India League 2015 clashed once again with a reversal of fates. Two penalty corner goals from Gurjinder Singh saw the Kalinga Lancers beat Dabang Mumbai 2-1 in a thrilling contest. The win puts Jude Felix’s men a point behind the Delhi Waveriders and gives them a clear shot at displacing last season’s champions.

Gurjinder-Singh-Kalinga-Lancers

Gurjinder Singh scored a brace as the Kalinga Lancers kept pace with the Delhi Waveriders

Valentin Altenberg Watches From The Stands

An embarrassing falling out with the match official saw Dabang Mumbai coach Valentin Altenberg watch his side play the Kalinga Lancers from the stands. In his absence, Anil Aldrin opted to rest David and Conor Harte, fielding Adrian D’Souza and Harmanpreet Singh instead. Veteran midfielder V.S Vinaya was handed the captain’s armband and was joined by Glenn Turner and Arjun Halappa in midfield.

Jude Felix kept faith in his regulars despite the team being placed at the bottom of the table. Vickram Kanth captained the side. Lucas Vila, Ryan Archibald and Gurjinder Singh all kept their places in the starting XI.

Gurjinder Singh Scores Despite Mumbai Dominance

Realizing that a win would keep the hopes for a semifinal berth alive, Tom Boon and Glenn Turner turned on the heat early on in the first half. However, a familiar problem came back to haunt Mumbai. Their superior posession in matches had little to show in the goals column. Therefore, the first ten minutes saw chances created by Mumbai but Tom Boon and company failed to beat Andrew Carter.

With 11 minutes played in the first quarter, Gurjinder Singh’s drag-flick found its way past Adrian D’Souza to give the Lancers a slender 1-0 lead.

Gurjinder Doubles Lead

Despite going a goal down, Dabang Mumbai were once more on the prowl. Waves of attacks on Andrew Carter’s goal from Glenn Turner and Arjun Halappa failed to bear fruit. Just like the first half, Mumbai paid dearly for their failure to convert their chances even as the Lancers made yet another penalty corner count.

With 21 minutes played, Gurjinder Singh smashed the ball past David Harte to put daylight between Kalinga Lancers and Dabang Mumbai. Apart from doubling the advantage, Gurjinder Singh, India’s new go-to man in defence achieved a distinctive feat of scoring against both keepers.

Harmanpreet Singh Pulls One Back

In terms of penalty corner conversion, Harmanpreet Singh has had a nightmare of a season. Being one of the brightest prospects in Indian Hockey, the starlet succeeded to reduce the deficit to a solitary goal. His drag-flick smashed into the bottom right corner giving Andrew Carter no chance.

Summary

The painful loss sees Valentin Altenberg’s Dabang Mumbai out of Semi-final contention. However, with two games left, Mumbai will look to salvage some pride and sign off with a bang.

The previous two matches have seen the Kalinga Lancer’s exhibit their latent abilities. The recently concluded 2-1 win over Dabang Mumbai saw Jude Felix’s men show their ability to defend calmly under pressure. Should they perform this way in following matches, there is no reason for the Lancer’s not to be serious semifinal contenders of Hockey India League 2015.




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