Punjab Warriors clinch HIL title

Ranchi :Jaypee Punjab Warriors were today crowned Hockey India League champions as they clinched their maiden title after thrashing Kalinga Lancers 6-1 in a lop-sided summit clash here today.

The Punjab-based side were third time lucky as they had finished runners-up in the last two editions. They lost to Delhi Waveriders in 2014 and to Ranchi Rays last year.

The Warriors, who had finished second in the round-robin league phase, totally dominated the final match of the fourth edition of the tournament at the Astroturf Hockey Stadium here.

They led 2-1 at the end of the second quarter but pumped in two field strikes—with each field goal counting as two — in the final two quarters to take the game away from the reach of Kalinga Lancers.

Armaan Qureshi (4th minute), Matt Gohdes (39th) and Satbir Singh (42nd) found the target for Punjab Warriors while captain Moritz Fuerste scored the consolation goal for Kalinga Lancers in the 24th minute.

The Warriors’ forward line was too good to handle for the Lancers who had to defend their citadel for most part of the final two quarters.

The match started on an attacking note as Kalinga Lancers were straightaway put under pressure by a series of attacks from Jaypee Punjab Warriors.

The Warriors struck early in the game through a field goal in the fourth through talented youngster Armaan Qureshi to take a 2-0 lead. This was followed by Kalinga Lancers launching some good attacks but the Warriors’ defenders stood upto their reputation denying their opponents any opportunity to score. The first quarter came to an end with the Warriors leading 2-0.

The second quarter began with Kalinga Lancers launching successive attacks on the Warriors but were unsuccessful in converting any opportunity to their favour. The Warriors showcased impeccable defence but the Lancers finally broke the deadlock in the 24th minute through a penalty corner conversion by captain Moritz Fuerste. The Warriors led 2-1 at the end of the second quarter.