Friday, February 7, 2014

Resurgent Ranchi Rhinos beat Kalinga Lancers 3-2 in thriller

Ranchi Rhinos fashioned a thrilling 3-2 win over debutants Kalinga Lancers in the 2nd Hero Hockey India League at the Astroturf Hockey Stadium in Ranchi. The Redshirts played a blistering final quarter to score twice to not only square level but also pull ahead to glean five points from the match.

Playing in front of a boisterous home crowd, Ranchi Rhinos pressed the ‘attacking button’ and forced an early short corner. English playmaker Ashley Jackson whipped home a potent drag-flick to the left of hapless Lancers’ goalkeeper Harjot Singh in the 5th minute to trigger celebrations among their supporters.

Kalinga Lancers took time to settle down and gradually got into the groove, trying to control possession if not dominate circle penetrations.
The Orange brigade were well served by talented Lalit Upadhaya, who dodged past three Rhinos defenders before unleashing a superb reverse hit which sailed wide.

The Odisha outfit soon restored parity in the 31st minute when Argentine Gonzalo Peillat converted a penalty corner – his fourth goal of the tournament – coming off a sequence of four consecutive PCs after Rhinos’ first rusher blocking his flick on as many as three occasions.

The Ranchi crowd was stunned to silence when Australian Kiel Brown tapped home a superbly crafted move from the right by Lalit Upadhaya.
Gregg Clark’s boys trailed 1-2 going into the fourth quarter and needed some inspiration from somewhere. German star Moritz Fuertse provided that, scoring a superb equalizer in the 57th minute after essaying a fine run from the right.

Six minutes later, there was more joy for the home crowd as Amon Tirkey made it 3-2 for Rhinos after being fed by the combo of Ashley Jackson and Floris Evers.
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