Mumbai : Dishing out a superlative display, Dabang Mumbai swamped Uttar Pradesh Wizards 6-3 in their concluding round-robin game of the Hockey India League to keep their hopes of entering the semifinals alive, here on Tuesday.
Mumbai scored three excellent field goals, which count as a double strike as per the rules of the tournament, through Gurjant Singh (14th minute), Florian Fuchs (42nd) and Yosuf Affan (59th).
For UP Wizards, who were knocked out of semifinal contention, V R Raghunath (19th penalty corner) and Chinglensana Singh (30th field goal), were the goal-getters.
It was only the fourth win for Mumbai from 10 outings, but it was enough to put them level on points with Kalinga Lancers (25) who play Delhi Waveriders tomorrow in the last round robin encounter.
If Lancers win, Mumbai will be through, but if Delhi win they will be through abd goal difference will come into play to decide the final semifinal spot from among Lancers and Mumbai.
With both the teams UP Wizards and Mumbai facing a must-win situation for a berth in the last four round, the game got off to a breezy start.
UP Wizards took the first shy at the rival goal in the second minute but Akashdeep Singh’s shot was blocked with his pads by Mumbai custodian David Harte, who had an outstanding game.
Gurjant Singh then hit wide a superb long through ball from his Mumbai teammate Harmanpreet Singh but made amends off a counter-attack later with a field effort, two minutes from the end of the first quarter, that counted as a double strike.
The counter-punch, leading to the fine field goal, came after Harte had come up with a good save, palming a penalty corner drag flick by V R Raghunath. Gurjant tried to pass the ball to teammate Florian Fuchs but the ball was deflected into the goal by UP’s Chinglensana.
UP Wizards were down to 10 men at this time following the yellow card suspension of their skipper Eddie Ockenden.
UP Wizards, down 0-2 at the end of the first quarter, attacked with vigour and forced three penalty corners early in the second quarter. They succeeded with the third attempt when Raghunath beat Harte with a shot that hit the board.
Mumbai captain Matthew Swann showed a clean pair of heels with his dribbling skills to get past a host of defenders but he was stopped in the nick of time. At the other end UP Wizards, desperate for the equaliser, got a bonus when Chinglensana hit the roof of the net with a sweep after trapping a goalmouth clearance just inside the circle to ensure UP Wizards trooped off at the end of the second quarter with a 3-2 advantage. The third quarter commenced with Mumbai pressing hard for a goal and nearly got one as they earned a penalty stroke from their first penalty corner in the 37th minute. But Jeremy Hayward’s flick from the spot was well anticipated by India and UP Wizards custodian PR Sreejesh who blocked it with his pads to dash the home team’s hopes.