Best moments from Dabang Mumbai’s 2016 HIL campaign
They might have bowed out before the semi-finals, but the fifth-placed Dabang Mumbai showed a lot of grit and heart throughout their campaign at the 2016 Coal India Hockey India League (HIL). Even during their six losses, they fought bravely that highly impressed all hockey aficionados.
After the four consecutive defeats initially, the Alphas upped their intensity and attacking game that rewarded them with a total of four victories to end their challenge. Mumbai regaled their fans with some very enjoyable moments all through these ten matches that will be cherished for a long time.
Here’s a recap of the top seven moments from Dabang Mumbai’s 2016 HIL journey:
1. The first goal always has to be the sweetest. The lethal German striker, Florian Fuchs, whom Dabang Mumbai had bought for a whopping US $96,000, lived up to his reputation by opening the scoring against the eventual runners-up Kalinga Lancers in Mumbai’s first match at the 2016 HIL. After Gurjant Singh’s reverse hit could not make it through, it was Fuchs who did the job to put The Alphas in the lead in Bhubaneswar.
2. Dabang Mumbai’s Irish custodian David Harte, who won the ‘FIH Goalkeeper of the Year’ award for his exploits in 2015, lived up to his billing. He put up an exhibition of his superb anticipation and reflexes in Mumbai’s opener as he foiled all of Lancer’s efforts in the first half with some brilliant saves. He kept the charging Lancers in check despite their 5 circle penetrations in the first quarter and in the second quarter, he did not allow Gurjinder Singh’s penalty conversion by stopping his drag flick.
3. 20-year-old Nilakanta Sharma brought joy to the Mumbai fans through his fearless display even when the Alphas were trailing the defending champions Ranchi Rays 3-4 at home. Mumbai came into this match on the back of a four-match losing streak and looked to be heading to another one. But, Nilakanta intervened with his powerful shot that found the back of the net, setting up The Alphas’ maiden victory of the 2016 HIL – a 7-5 stunner over the Rays.