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World Series Hockey -- Mumbai edge past Bhopal

891   //    02 Mar 2012, 22:55 IST


Mumbai Marines edged past Bhopal Badshashs by a solitary goal in a second round match of the Bridgestone World Series Hockey at the Mahindra Stadium tonight. The all important goal was a brilliant effort by Aussie Troy Sutherland in the 25th minute.

The hosts had to endure tremendous pressure as Bhopal pressed for the equaliser with keeper and skipper Adrian D’Souza pulling off a save off the Badshahs’ sixth penalty corner that was completed aftet the final hooter was sounded.

This was the first win for the Mariners who had lost yesterday while it was the first defeat for the visitors who had won their lung opener in Chandigarh two days ago.

After several high scoring encounters in the opening round, goals were at a premium in this defence dominated encounter. However, the Bhopalis, with Pakistani Waseem Ahmed , Kiwi Casey Henwood and the evergreen playmaker Sameer Dad orchestrating their manoeuvres, enjoyed the better of the exchanges in the first half and also in the closing session.

As the match progressed, the Mumbai citadel survived several close calls. The Badshahs came by a good opening in the 10th minute itself when Affan Yusuf’s hit way palmed away by D’Souza. The former India custodian again came to the resuce when he padded up to a flick from Geowyne Gamiet in the third quarter.

After their dramatic defeat yesterday, Mumbai who had Aashish Balal deputising for coach Andrew Meredith, showed more cohesion and resolve today with their defence, which leaked goals yesterday, holding firm. They slowly came into their own as an attacking force as the game ticked on and went into the lead through a brilliant move in the midfield featuring Joga Singh and Sutherland with the Aussie firing an unstopppable shot from the top of the D that beat former India custodian Baljeet Singh all ends up.

Baljeet, whose eye injury in a camp put paid to his India career, however was unbeatable in the second half when he denied Devinder Walmiki, Joga and Aijub Ekka in quick succession.

The Badshahs did manage to penetrate the Mumbai cage late in the second quarter but the goal was disallowed by Sridharan Thamba and later also rejected by the video umpire on referral.

Delhi Wizards beat Karnataka Lions 3-2

Earlier, at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi, Delhi Wizards warded off a late rally by Karnataka Lions to win by the odd goal in five. Vikramjeet Singh’s drag flick gave the hosts the lead in the 3rd minute and Pakistani centre forward Shakeel Abassi made it 2-0 in the second quarter.

The southerners hit back through Girsev Singh and Ravi Pal before ousted India skipper Rajpal Singh produced the matchwinner with a stunner of a goal in the 51st minute, deflecting the ball into the target from an impossible angle.

Mario Rodrigues is a senior sports journalist and football & hockey writer. He is the author of the acclaimed biography of Ranjitsinhji titled ‘Batting for the Empire’.
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