Kieran Govers scored a last minute goal as the Punjab Warriors beat Dabang Mumbai 3-2. The five goal thriller proved to be an appropriate finish to the group stage of the 2015 Hockey India League.
1st quarter: Both sides create chances
The first quarter saw both the sides create opportunities inside the attacking circle. However, despite the circle penetrations, none of the sides could make a change in the goals column. The best chance of the quarter went to Glenn Turner of Mumbai, as the seasoned Australian national’s shot was palmed away by Japp Stockmann. Therefore, the first quarter concluded in a goalless stalemate.
2nd Quarter: Nick Catlin gives Mumbai the lead
Playing like they had nothing to lose, Dabang Mumbai came off the blocks from the word go. Their relentless pressure on the Punjab defensive pair of Sandeep Singh and Rob Hammond resulted in a goal with 17 minutes gone. Nick Catlin’s powerful strike whistled past Stockmann, giving the latter absolutely no chance.
A few chances were created by the home side through Gurmail Singh and S.V Sunil. However, lack of desire and finishing on the final third meant that Dabang Mumbai went into the break with a solitary goal advantage.
Jake Whetton equalizes early in the third quarter
With two minutes gone in the second half, Aussie Jake Whetton found himself on the score sheet. A well worked attack from the Warriors succeeded in catching the Mumbai defence napping. Despite Whetton’s goal putting the Warriors back on level terms, they still needed a win to secure the top position.
An attack late in the third quarter saw Gurmail Singh earn a penalty stroke. Having missed a couple of penalty corners earlier, Sandeep Singh was presented with perhaps the perfect opportunity to increase his goal tally. The Indian defender made no mistake as he sent David Harte the wrong way to put the Warriors ahead 2-1.
Harmanpreet Levels The Scores
Dabang Mumbai won their first penalty ccorner of the game with eight minutes gone in the fourth quarter. Although he has not had the best of seasons in terms of penalty corner conversions, Harmanpreet Singh’s perfectly directed shot brought the away side back on level terms. The wide grin from Valentin Altenberg summed up the story.
Kieran Govers Seals Victory
Despite being at the bottom of the table, Dabang Mumbai’s performance was more than commendable. However, with barely a minute remaining, the Punjab Warriors sealed victory with a magnificently worked team goal. Simon Orchard’s counter saw the Mumbai defenders lose plot and Kieran Govers’ diving effort found the back of the net.
The win sees the Punjab Warriors climb to the top of the table. However, the spotlight is on Valentin Altenberg and his side. Although he will be disappointed with the likes of Tom Boon, he can take heart in the fact that youngsters like Harmanpreet Singh and Santa Singh have all been a treat to watch.