Ranchi Rays came back from a bitter loss in their previous game against Jaypee Punjab Warriors to clinch a remarkable 7-3 win against table toppers Dabang Mumbai here at the fifth edition of Coal India Hockey India League. It was Ashley Jackson (5’ and 49’), Mohd Amir Khan (16’) and Imran Khan (57’) who ensured the home team earned five points from the match here on Thursday.
The clash between home team Ranchi Rays and table toppers Dabang Mumbai involved everything that makes for a top-class match with both teams attacking each other hooter to hooter, displaying nail-biting action, ensuring there was never a dull moment for the packed Ranchi Stadium.
The first quarter saw both teams get off to an enterprising start. It was Dabang Mumbai’s Captain Florian Fuchs who came up with a superb goal in only the 2nd minute of play when he improvised a shot at goal after Kieran Govers assist, Ranchi Rays’ Ashley Jackson struck in the 5th minute to equalize the score to 2-2. It was a clever-thinking Manpreet Singh who made no mistake in finding Jackson, inside the circle, who made the goal look like a breeze with a perfect deflection that beat Dabang Mumbai’s experienced goalkeeper David Harte.
Ranchi Rays came back from the first break looking determined to put pressure on the visitors and they did just that when they took the lead in the 16th minute. It was Flynn Ogilvie who came up with an excellent run on the counter attack, showcasing brilliant dribbling skills, driving into the circle working in tandem with 23-year-old Mohd Amir Khan who kept up with his pace and a perfect pass by Ogilvie saw Amir put the ball past Harte with ease.
The home team’s defence did well to stay in the lead, denying any opportunity to allow Dabang Mumbai a second goal, and went into the first half with a 4-2 lead. Though Ranchi Rays had an opportunity to make the score read 5-2 as they won their first PC in the 26th minute, the flick by Trent Mitton was well-saved by Harte.
The third quarter saw Dabang Mumbai earn a PC as early as two minutes into the quarter, but couldn’t quite convert the chance. It was in-form Harmanpreet Singh who was entrusted with the job but a poor injection saw him push the ball too far and wide.
The game was of high stakes and the pressure was evident when two players Timothy Deavin of Ranchi Rays and Nikkin Thimmaiah of Dabang Mumbai were handed a yellow card after a bit of a tussle in the circle. Later, Ashley Jackson was handed a yellow card when his team had an extra player on the field. The home team had to survive few minutes with just nine players on the field giving Dabang Mumbai a perfect chance to come back into the game. But they failed to capitalise, thus ending the quarter at 4-2 in favour of Ranchi Rays.
Ranchi Rays seemed to be in complete control of the game in the final quarter, putting pressure on the visitors, this time Simranjeet Singh dribbling into the circle only to find Deavin perfectly poised to strike. But instead, they earned a penalty corner for the team when the strike found the foot of a Dabang Mumbai defender. The home team was eventually awarded a penalty stroke in the 49th minute and Ashley Jackson made no mistake in converting this opportunity taking their score to a comfortable 5-2.
Affan Yousuf put a goal past Tyler Lovell in the 51st minute taking the score to 5-3 when Harmanpreet Singh’s dragflick was converted by Yousuf, who is currently the highest goal scorer in the league. Ranchi Rays, however, continued to dominant and enthral the home crowd with another field goal in the 57th minute when Imran Khan put one past David Harte after a good assist by Sarvanjit Singh taking their lead to 7-3.
Florian Fuchs of Dabang Mumbai was awarded with a prize money of Rs 50,000 for scoring the Coal India Goal of the Match from Shri Binay Dayal, Technical Director, Central Mine Planning and Design Institute.
Harmanpreet Singh of Dabang Mumbai won the prize of Rs 25,000 for being the Hero Young Achiever of the Match from Olympian Mr. Sylvanus Dung Dung.
The Airtel Most Entertaining Player of the Match was awarded to Flynn Ogilvie of Ranchi Rays that came with a prize money of Rs 25,000 and presented by Shri Bhola Nath Singh, Member Governing Board Coal India Hockey India League and President of Hockey Jharkhand.
Tyler Lovell of Ranchi Rays was declared the Man of the Match and was awarded a prize money of Rs 50,000 by Mr NK Pal, Assistant Director, SICCSL.
On 3 February 2017, Kalinga Lancers will take on Jaypee Punjab Warriors in Bhubaneswar at 1900hrs.