In a scintillating match of hockey played at the Mahindra Stadium in Mumbai, the home team came out victorious in a nail biting encounter against the defending Champions Ranchi Rays. The first home win for Dabang Mumbai will give them the much needed points to again kick start their campaign in the 4th Coal India Hockey India League.
The first half of the match started with a flurry of attacks from the Mumbai team who were looking all set to make the home advantage count this time. The Mumbai team was holding the possession and playing a pressing game and were rewarded with a Penalty corner in the 11th minute which was converted successfully by Ram Diwakar to give the home team a lead of 1-0 in the opening minutes of the game. The leaders of the league didn’t take much time to respond and were soon awarded a penalty corner 6 minutes after the first goal from the home team. The penalty corner was excellently put into the back of the net by Ranchi Rays Captain to level the score at 1-1 in the 18th minute.
The home team wasn’t ready to hold back anything and Mathew Swann responded with a field goal in the 21st minute to give the home team a lead of 3-1 at the end of the second quarter.
The second half started with a setback for the home team with a red card to forward Affan Yousuf which gave the advantage to the away team. The possession slowly started shifting in favour of the away team with the home team being reduced to 10 men. Ranchi Rays took advantage of this situation and Sarvanjit scored in the 38th minute to level the score at 3-3 for the visiting team. Ranchi Rays continued to press hard and were again given a penalty corner which was thrashed into the back of the net by Ashley Jackson giving the away team a one goal lead on the 41st minute.
Dabang Mumbai resorted to a counter attacking game and was able to break through the Ranchi defense which was sans Birendra Lakhra because of an injury in the first quarter. Few seconds after Ashley Jackson’s goal Nilankanta Sharma scored to give the home team a 5-4 lead. Dabang Mumbai’s counter attacking game was taken forward by Florian Fuchs in the 48th minute with an assist from Roshan Minz to give the home team a 3 goal lead in the match on 7-4. The hope of a comeback from the visiting team was ignited moments before closing of the game by Sandeep Singh who converted a third penalty corner to give them a 5th goal. The match finally ended with a win for Dabang Mumbai by a score line of 7-5
‘The Coal India Goal of the Match’ award of INR 50,000 was awarded by Shri Om Prakash, Chairman cum Managing Director, SECL to Nilankanta Sharma of Dabang Mumbai and ‘Hero Emerging Player of the Match’ of INR 25,000 was also awarded to Nilankanta Sharma of Dabang Mumbai. While Florian Fuchs from Dabang Mumbai won the Most Entertaining Player of the Match award. Matthew Swann from Dabang Mumbai walked away with the Man of the Match award of INR 50,000.