Dabang Mumbai get off the mark with a spirited 7-5 win over Ranchi Rays
Dabang Mumbai beat Ranchi Rays 7-5 in front of their home fans at the Mahindra Stadium to register their maiden win of the season on Wednesday. In a high-scoring tie, it was Florian Fuchs who sealed the tie for the Alphas in the final quarter.
The opening quarter saw Dabang Mumbai begin on a positive note as they controlled the ball possession during the opening phase of the quarter, and their early promise paid dividends when not one but two penalty corners came their way, but unfortunately for them, they couldn’t convert either of the chances into goals.
The hosts continued to hold the upper hand in the quarter, playing a refreshingly attacking game, creating regular opportunities inside the Rays circle. They got a deserving reward in the 11th minute of the game, when they converted a third penalty-corner opportunity, through a superb goal from Diwakar Ram that gave them the vital lead in the contest, which they managed to hold on until the end of the opening quarter.
The second quarter saw the Alphas continue to play in an aggressive fashion as they looked to strengthen their lead, but with 12 minutes in the second quarter, the visitors nullified the advantage with a penalty corner conversion from Ashley Jackson, that brought the match back on an even keel.
However, that didn’t demotivate the Alphas’ style of play and they found just reward come their way again with 9 minutes left on the clock in the second quarter when skipper Matthew Swann netted in from close range to give Dabang Mumbai a decisive 3-1 lead. The hosts had a few more chance to bolster the advanatage, but in the dying moments of the quarter, they were dealt a blow when Affan Yousuf was given the marching orders, even though his side went into the first half with a 3-1 lead.
The Alphas hold on after an entertaining second half
Due to the numerical disadvantage, the Alphas were forced to play with an altered formation, but that didn’t deter their style of play as they looked for more goals and they deservingly got another opportunity with 10 minutes left on the clock, courtesy a penalty stroke. However, a fierce strike by Harmanpreet Singh was saved by the Rays goalkeeper Tyler Lovell to keep the deficit to 2.
The Rays took the most of the opportunity and equalised soon after, courtesy a field goal from Sarvanjit Singh, that caught the hosts’ goalkeeper off-guard to make it 3-3. Things got a bit tough for the hosts a few minutes later as Jackson converted his second penalty corner of the night to make it 4-3 for his side.
However, the never-say-die attitude of Dabang Mumbai came to the fore just a few minutes later, when Nilakanta Sharma hit a fierce shot straight into the back of the net to hand the home team the lead as they finished the quarter with a 5-4 advantage.
The 4th quarter began with the visitors on the attack, but it was the hosts who further bolstered their lead courtsey a superb field goal from Florian Fuchs as the scoreline read 7-4 in Mumbai’s favour. The Rays tried their best to get back into the contest and pulled one back courtesy Sandeep Singh, but it was Dabang Mumbai who prevailed on the night to register their first win of the season.