Bhubaneswar: Hockey fans in the state are excited for the Hockey India League (HIL) semi finals between Kalinga Lancers and UP Wizards to start in a few hours. The state franchise had qualified for semi-finals in a trot for the second time in HIL after occupying second position on the point chart below Dabang Mumbai. The match today will be held at Chandigarh.
Interestingly, Kalinga Lancers that was runners up last year marched into the semi-finals getting 28 points with 5 wins, one draw and 4 losses whereas the 2016 champion Punjab Warriors that had defeated the Odisha team in the finals last season, failed to get through semi-finals this time.
The Lancers started their journey by defeating Delhi Wave Riders by 1-0 goals at Bhubaneswar on Jan 22. Under captaincy of Mortiz Fuerste, KL is hopeful of grabbing the championship trophy this season.
Glenn Turner and Fuerste are leading in the goals tally in the tournament at first and second places with 10 and 9 goals. Neeelam Sanjeep Xess, Amit Rohi Das and Dipsan Tirkey are three Odia players playing for the team.
Earlier, the state owned team entered into the semi finals six- team HIL in 2014 and after failing to qualify for finals in first two editions, it became runners up in 2016 edition.
The other semi-final will also be played between Dabang Mumbai and Delhi Waive Riders. The HIL 2017 finals will also be held at Chandigarh on Feb 26.