Mumbai : Defending champions U Mumba overturned a three-point deficit late in the match to get the better of state rivals Puneri Paltan 30-27 in a thrilling Pro Kabaddi League match here on Monday.
Skipper Anup Kumar showed some fine alacrity, after being pinned down a bit earlier, in the 40th and final minute of the game to put his side four points clear of their rivals at 30-26 at the NSCI’s Vallabhai Patel Stadium in Worli.
Though the rivals from across the Sahyadri ranges made one final ditch effort, they could secure just one raid point through Deepak Hooda to lose the game. But they still remain in the hunt for a semi final spot, which has already been nailed by the hosts.
The two teams were level 12-all at half time and 23-all with four minutes left when Pune showed good tackling skills to trap Mumbai’s star raiders Anup and Rakesh Kumar to go ahead 26-23. But they did not have an answer to Anup in the following raid after Rishank Devadiga had secured a point for Mumbai and then slumped to their fourth loss in 13 games. The victory pushed Mumbai to 50 points with two games in hand and left Pune in third place with 43 points and a game in hand against fourth-placed Bengal Warriors on March 2 to complete their league engagements. While Mumbai were superior in raids (19-11), Pune (14-9) were the better team in defending. Anup (8) and Rakesh (7) led the attack for Mumbai with support from Devadiga (5), Mohit Chillar (5) and Jeeva Kumar (2) did their bit in defense.
For Pune, Surendra Singh was the top raider with 5 points to his credit, while Ajay Thakur got 5 and Deepak Hooda contributed with 3. In defence, captain Jasmer Singh Gulia was the pick with six tackle points followed by Hooda (3), Sachin Shingade (3) and Surjeet (2).