Jaypee Punjab Warriors kickstarted proceedings on a belligerent note, creating a series of attacks, but Kalinga Lancers soaked up all the early pressure and turned the tables on them when an unmarked Gagandeep Singh slotted home in the 10th minute even as the home crowd was stunned to silence.
The Warriors, desperate not to let their home fans down, came out firing and equalized in the closing stages of the first quarter when Aussie drag-flicker Christopher Cirello converted their second PC.
It was the turn of another Australian Jake Whetton to put the Warriors ahead in the third quarter, but the Lancers were in no mood to surrender the initiative. Former Indian striker Mandeep Antil made the most of a defensive blunder from the Warriors before unleashing a shot that beat goalkeeper Bharat Chettri all ends up.
The Warriors maintained sustained pressure on the Lancers, but the Odisha outfit’s shot stopper Harjot Singh kept them at bay with some stellar saves. The Lancers again pulled ahead in the third quarter when New Zealander Ryan Archibald rifled in a backhander, which brooked no answer from Bharat Chettri.
The Terry Walsh-coached side suffered a setback when Mandeep Antil was taken off the pitch after he was embroiled in a nasty collision with Bharat Chettri – the former bleeding profusely after the latter’s stick hit him on his face. Even as the Lancers were grappling with the injury to Mandeep Antil, the Warriors restored parity through Simon Orchard – the third Australian to score for them.
The Warriors kept up the pressure in the fourth quarter, but Harjot Singh’s remarkable goalkeeping ensured the Odisha outfit walked off the pitch with a much deserved draw.