Fighting Mumbai down Waveriders

Dabang Mumbai staged stunning fightback in the last quarter to inflict a crushing 8-3 win over Delhi Waveriders in the Hockey India League at the Shivaji Stadium on Tuesday.

Waveriders’ had the match under control in the first three quarters when they led 3-0 before their defence collapsed shockingly. Mumbai scored four field goals within nine minutes, including a brace by Manpreet in last four minutes of the match, to put it beyond the hosts. With the loss, the Waveriders have fallen one spot to the bottom of the table while Mumbai climbed two places to fourth position.

Waveriders, desperate to break the winless stretch at home this season, struck early when Steve Edwards (22nd minute) rolled in the ball to complete a well-crafted move. Rupinder Pal Singh (39th) then swelled his tally to nine goals with an excellent dragflick to right of the goal  in the third quarter and Waveriders could well see the finish line.

However, the last quarter was to change all that. Danish Mujtaba (49th) came with quick reflexes for a clever deflection to score a field goal and Mumbai had bridged the gap to 2-3. The pendulum then swung again in Mumbai’s favour when Nilakanta Sharma (52nd) tapped in a rising ball. The goal was referred to the TV umpire by the on-field official and was deemed in the visitors’ favour despite protests from the Waveriders. It was now Mumbai who were leading 4-3.

Final blow
It dealt a final blow for the hosts whose body language dropped and Manpreet (57th, 58th) made the most of it with his twin strikes. His first goal came off a goalmouth melee when he swiftly pushed the ball on the run. His second strike was even better and more of a solo effort as he beat the flat-footed defense of Waveriders to score with a reverse hit. He had scored two goals in two minutes and ensured a third straight win for Mumbai.
As for the Waveriders, they next face top two sides of the tournament, Kalinga Lancers and Ranchi Rays to keep up their survival hopes.
DH News Service

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