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Pro Kabaddi 2016 Season 4: Benefitted from Manjeet Chillar's absence but would still have won, says U Mumba Coach

Puneri Paltan have finally slipped out of the top four after their defeat in Maharashtra derby

Anup Kumar
Anup Kumar is starting to look more dangerous with every passing encounter

Normalcy was restored in the Maharashtra derby as U Mumba beat Puneri Paltan in a nail-biting contest of Pro Kabaddi League season 4 in front of their home crowd. Squared up against a Manjeet less Pune, Mumbai started their home leg on the best possible note as everything clicked on the night for Anup Kumar’s side.

The captain led his team from the front and continued his fine form as he racked up eleven points in the match. Nine of those eleven came in the form of touch points and two came through tackles for Kumar.

In defence for Mumbai, Surjeet, who didn’t have the most memorable of seasons until yesterday, shone through with a confident showing. He was miserly in defence and executed his tackles on the likes of Ajay Thakur to perfection.

Surjeet’s confidence rubbed on the rest of the defence who tackled brilliantly as a team and helped U Mumba turn the tables on Puneri Paltan who, at one point were in front

While it may not have been a comprehensive win, beating a quality side like Pune would have done a whole lot of good to the team’s confidence, something which Coach Bhaskaran agreed upon. However, he refrained from using the word revenge for the victory.

Earlier, Puneri Paltan had thumped U Mumba in only their second game of the season to win the Maharashtra derby for the first time.

“You can’t call it revenge. We came into form at the right time. This win is definitely a morale booster. Our combinations weren’t clicking in the initial stages. But we covered quite some distance in this match. Our covers played really well”, said Bhaskaran.

Puneri Paltan captain missed the services of their inspirational skipper Manjeet Chhillar, who didn’t play the match due to a shoulder injury which he had sustained during a match against Bengal Warriors. Bhaskaran admitted that the visitors missed their leader. But he dismissed the claim that Manjeet’s presence could have impacted the end result.

“Manjeet is a very good player. If he was playing, the match would have been even closer. Naturally, we benefitted from his absence. But we don’t want to think that we won because of that. Any player can get injured”, he concluded.

With this win, U Mumba looks in safer territory than Puneri Paltan. With 4 matches still to go in comparison to Pune’s three, U Mumba will be looking to add on to their tally of 32 points to secure a top four finish at any cost. Puneri Paltan, however, have a task at hand as their campaign is slowly starting to derail.

Expect them to go berserk in their next three contests.

With inputs from Somesh Chandran.

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