Punjab host Mumbai in last Hockey India League pool match
Mohali, Feb 18 (IANS)
The last group match of the Hockey India League (HIL) will see Jaypee Punjab Warriors lock horns with Dabang Mumbai at the International Hockey Stadium here Thursday. With the match, the pool phase of HIL will come to an end with the semi-finals and final slated to be held at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi this weekend.
A win will hand the Warriors the top spot in the standings, while Mumbai will play for pride.
The two teams had clashed earlier in the Maximum City where hosts Mumbai managed to hold the mighty Warriors to a 3-3 draw. The Warriors will intend to register a win before they play the semis while Mumbai, currently sitting at the bottom of the points table, will try to finish their stint on a high.
With an impressive performance so far, the Warriors have enjoyed a successful spell and are being regarded as one of the title contenders. With 30 points to their tally, the Warriors will now step out with a motive to record a win and add five more points.
"This is our last game before we enter the semi-finals. The team has been performing really well and despite a loss in the previous match against Ranchi Rays, they have shown improvement in all areas. The boys are confident and I am sure they will play to their best and put up a good match for the home crowd," Warriors head coach Barry Dancer said.
On the other hand, with a lone win and only 14 points, Mumbai are seated at the bottom of the standings and have failed to reserve a place in the semis. The Valentin Altenburg-coached team will be playing its concluding game on their home ground and will be aiming at ending their campaign with a win.
"This is the last match for us but we will play to our best with a free mind. The team, in spite of being new and having certain loopholes, has performed well and improved considerably. We hope we will have a much better season next year. The boys will play the last game with full enthusiasm and enjoy each minute of it," Altenburg said.