In a turn of fates, Dabang Mumbai recorded their first win of the 2015 Hockey India League in front of their home crowd on Sunday. The win has come against Kalinga Lancers, another side that has been struggling to keep up with the other teams.
A Slow-Paced Game
Right from the first quarter, both teams failed to put in a lot of energy into the game. The first breakthrough came in the 18th minute from the Dabang Mumbai outfit’s Australian defender Jeremy Hayward.
Kalinga Lancers’ goalkeeper Andrew Charter did his best to save Harmanpreet’s Penalty Corner effort. He blocked the ball with his pad. Unfortunately for him, the ball fell right in front of Jeremy Hayward. The Aussie was quick to slap it in and Charter did not get a second chance of stopping it this time.
Wasteful Kalinga Lancers
After the first goal, the Kalinga quickly went into counter-attacking mode. Some bit of speed was finally added to the match and the Lancers won three short corners in the second quarter itself. Had the Lancers made even one of those count, there would have been pressure on the Dabang Mumbai side. But the Kalinga Lancers failed to do that.
Harmanpreet Gets The Goal At Last
Dabang Mumbai doubled their lead through their young drag flick expert Harmanpreet in the 42nd minute of the match. He was denied by Kalinga Lancers’ goalie Charter on the previous occasion but not again. Harmanpreet flicked it into his favorite position towards the left of Charter and got his name on the score sheet.
Lead Cut Short But Dabang Mumbai Survive
Stung again, the Kalinga Lancers went into attack mode one more time. This time, the resilience paid off almost immediately. Somanna Pradhan ran down the left at the Dabang Mumbai defence and cut in the D from the by-line. A good pass to Mohd Amir Khan, and his cool finish saw Kalinga Lancers back in the game .
The fight-back never happened however and Dabang Mumbai held their fort to record their first victory of the season. With this win, the Mumbai side stay in contention for the knockout phase.
With their first win in the Hockey India League 2015, Dabang Mumbai have moved up to fifth position. They are trailing fourth positioned Delhi Waveriders by three points and could pose a challenge to the defending champions for a place in the semi finals.
Kalinga Lancers have lost their sixth consecutive game and are now at the bottom of the table with just nine points from seven matches. If the Kalinga team does not pull up its socks soon , it is more likely that they will only be able to play the role of a spoilsport