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HIL 2015: Ranchi Rays draw against Dabang Mumbai in a pulsating match

Tarish Bhatt
TOP CONTRIBUTOR
1.88K   //    28 Jan 2015, 21:22 IST
Ranchi Rays’ Barry Middleton in action against Dabang Mumbai in HIL

In slippery conditions at the Astroturf Hockey Stadium, Dabang Mumbai let a win slip-up and came within touching distance of losing the encounter. Ranchi Rays, on the other hand, again made a stunning comeback and clinched a 2-2 draw in the Hockey India League (HIL).

Largely because of goalkeeper Adrian D’Souza, Mumbai managed to earn a draw as the Indian International made some stunning saves late into the game. Ranchi, meanwhile, came close to scoring the winner, only to find D’Souza in their way.

Mumbai took a two-goal advantage in the first quarter and they looked like running away with the game, but Ranchi scripted a stunning comeback in the following quarters. The hosts not only shared honours but also reached second place in the points table.

The visitors dominated the proceedings and made some fine moves to trouble Ranchi’s defence and they were soon rewarded, when Glenn Turner put them ahead in the 12th minute, from a move initiated by Harmanpreet Singh.

Harmanpreet took a shot from just inside the shooting circle and the ball took a telling touch off Turner’s stick beat goalkeeper Francisco Cortes and went into the goal. Mumbai doubled their lead just moments before the end of the opening 15 minutes.

Aussie powerhouse, Turner was again in the mix of things and through a superb pass, he picked Santa Singh, who made no mistake in firing the ball past Cortes to make the scoreline 2-0. The end of the opening quarter also ended Mumbai’s dominance as Ranchi got ready for yet another comeback.

In the second quarter, Ranchi looked a completely different team altogether and initiated a number of moves, as Barry Middleton found his rhythm. They were soon rewarded as just a minute into the quarter, Ranchi cut Mumbai’s lead in half.

Daniel Beale scored in the 16th minute of the game when his reverse hit whistled past goalkeeper D’Souza to hit the back of the net. The Dabang Mumbai goalkeeper had no chance of stopping that ball as it flew past him even before he had time to react to it.

It was all Ranchi from that point onwards and they pressed hard for the equaliser, which they got in the third quarter. Ashley Jackson scored the second goal for Ranchi in the 37th minute, when he gunned his drag flick into the goal.

Moments earlier, Jackson had an opportunity to get the equaliser but he failed to convert the penalty corner and his hit flew inches away from the post. But, the Ranchi Rays skipper made no mistake in scoring his third goal of the tournament.

The hosts could have had the winner as well in the dying moments of the match, but a superb shot from Mandeep Singh was saved by the alert D’Souza.

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Tarish Bhatt
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