Dabang Mumbai conjured up a dominating performance to beat Uttar Pradesh Wizards 6-3 at the Mahindra Hockey Stadium in Mumbai. The visitors overturned the home team’s lead right before the break, but a spectacular comeback by Jay Stacy’s men saw them move to 4th in the table and knock the Wizards out of the tournament.
The match began with excellent pressure from the Alphas, but the first real chance fell to the visitors in the second minute when Akashdeep Singh was free inside the Dabang Mumbai circle, but, David Harte was on hand to deny the Indian international. In the 5th minute, Harte’s counterpart pulled off a sensational save when Fuchs’ turn and pass found Affan Yousuf, who looped the ball to Gurjant. The young forward hit it first time towards goal, but PR Sreejesh saved with his chest.
With 3 minutes to go in the quarter, the Wizards won a penalty corner after a successful review. The Alphas custodian saved the resulting drag flick, which started a lightning fast counter-attack that led to the first goal of the match. After Harte’s save, the men in blue caught the Wizards’ defence napping and Gurjant’s shot was deflected into his own net by Chinglensana Singh.
GOAL! 13’ Dabang Mumbai 2-0 UP Wizards: Gurjant Singh (FG)
The quarter ended soon after with the home team in the lead. However, their lead was halved 4 minutes into the second period through a penalty corner by VR Raghunath. UP Wizards won back-to-back penalty corners and were thwarted on each occasion by the 2015 FIH Goalkeeper of the Year, but the visitors were third time lucky as they managed to breach Harte’s goal in their third attempt.
GOAL! 19’ Dabang Mumbai 2-1 UP Wizards: VR Raghunath (PC)
The home team made a couple of promising moves straight away, but the lack of a killer final pass let them down each time. Just when it looked like the half would end with the home team in the lead, Chinglensana slapped a loose ball into the goal in the final minute of the half to break the fans’ hearts as the half-time hooter sounded soon after.
GOAL! 30’ Dabang Mumbai 2-3 UP Wizards: Chinglensana Singh (FG)
A spectacular turnaround by the Alphas
The second half gave the home team a glorious chance to equalise after the Alphas won a penalty corner. A variation saw Fuchs win a penalty stroke for his team, but Jeremy Hayward’s resulting shot was saved by Sreejesh, who went down to his left to deny the Australian in the 37th minute. The German gave the Alphas the lead with a brilliant reverse hit five minutes later to end his 4-match goalless streak.
GOAL! 42’ Dabang Mumbai 4-3 UP Wizards: Florian Fuchs (FG)
On the other end, Harte made sure the home team went into the final quarter with the lead when he denied Dwyer with his feet.
The first chance of the final quarter came Affan’s way when an adventurous run saw him inside the opposition circle, but his shot was straight at Sreejesh. Pinball in the Wizards’ circle saw the ball hit the crossbar as the visitors survived. There was no luck for them in the penultimate minute when Affan Yousuf was found in the circle by Gurjant and the former slid the ball into the empty net as the Wizards were playing without a goalkeeper for the final 4 minutes.
GOAL! 59’ Dabang Mumbai 6-3 UP Wizards: Affan Yousuf (FG)
The full time hooter went soon after as the home team moved up to 4th in the table, keeping their semi-final hopes alive with this win. They now await the result of the match between Delhi Waveriders and Kalinga Lancers, hoping that the latter avoid a loss.
FT: Dabang Mumbai 6-3 UP Wizards