Jaypee Punjab Warriors 3-1 Dabang Mumbai; Harmanpreet shines in the Alphas' loss
The Alphas travelled to Chandigarh to make ammends from the loss suffered at the hands of Kalinga Lancers while Jaypee Punjab Warriors also came into the match after a 4-5 loss vs Delhi Waveriders. Coach Jay Stacy made 2 changes to the team that started in Bhubaneshwar with Diwakar Ram and Dylan Wotherspoon replacing Affan Yousuf and Jeremy Hayward.
The first quarter started with Dabang Mumbai keeping possession in the opposition half and made the first circle penetration too, but Florian Fuchs was unable to apply the final touch to a good team move. The home team gave the visitors a stunning blow when Matt Gohdes took advantage of a miscontrol by Harmanpreet Singh and passed the ball to Armaan Qureshi, who had ghosted in the circle to tap the ball home beyond a hapless David Harte.
GOAL! 5’ Jaypee Punjab Warriors 2-0 Dabang Mumbai; Armaan Qureshi (FG)
The visitors tried to hit back straight away, but the final pass was missing. Matthew Swann’s side had the majority of the ball and even made 3 circle penetrations in the first quarter as compared to just 1 by the home team, but were unable to trouble the score. The buzzer went soon after with the Alphas left to rue missed chances against a prolific Warriors side.
The first minute of the second quarter saw a sensational save by Harte, as he was quick off his line to deny the speedy Warriors attackers. However, in the 21st minute Jaypee Punjab Warriors won a penalty corner after the ball struck Vikas Sharma’s foot. The dangerous Chris Ciriello made no mistake as he swept the ball in the top corner on the keeper’s left.
GOAL! 21’ Jaypee Punjab Warriors 3-0 Dabang Mumbai; Chris Ciriello (PC)
Just 2 minutes later, Affan had a glorious chance to reduce his team’s deficit when a good move involving Swann and Fuchs found the youngster free in front of goal. However, the 21-year-old‘s reverse scoop was saved by Tristan Clemons in the Warriors’ goal. The rest of the half saw the team in red try hard, but an alert Clemons thwarted their every approach as he made sure his team went into the break with their 3-goal lead intact.
HT: Jaypee Punjab Warriors 3-0 Dabang Mumbai
A bright second half by The Alphas
The first action of the second half came when SV Sunil combined well with Sardar Singh, who set up the former for a shot, which was saved by Harte’s stick after he dived quickly to his right. A couple of minutes later though, the visitors reduced the deficit when they won a penalty corner and drag-flick specialist, Harmanpreet hit it low to put doubts in the crowd’s minds. This was the 20-year-old’s 6th goal for the Alphas in the world’s biggest hockey league, his first this campaign.
GOAL! 38’ Jaypee Punjab Warriors 3-1 Dabang Mumbai; Harmanpreet Singh (PC)
A minute later, Dabang Mumbai won another penalty corner and Harmanpreet’s drag-flick looked set to ripple the net, but Clemons pulled off a superhuman save to deny the youngster. The Alphas pushed hard till the end of the quarter, but if it wasn’t for the Australian goalkeeper, they would have levelled the score, if not taken the lead.
The final quarter saw the Alphas give it their all, but the first chance of the final 15 minutes came the Warriors’ way when they won a penalty corner in the 47th minute. Despite a clever dummy where Ciriello chose not to shoot and set up Jasjit, the Alphas defended well. 2 minutes later, the visitors won a short corner of their own and tried their own variation, which was worked well, but Danish Mujtaba blazed his shot over the post.
An alert Harte did extremely well to dive down to his right and deny Simon Orchard in a 2v1 situation to give his attackers a chance to level the match with a little over 7 minutes to go on the clock. However, Clemons was having the match of his life as he denied the Dabang Mumbai forwards time and again till the final hooter.
The result meant that the Warriors moved top of the table with 11 points from 3 matches. Dabang Mumbai will now resume their HIL campaign 5 days later at home vs Delhi Waveriders.