A 2-2 draw against the U.P Wizards saw Dabang Mumbai fall out of contention for the semifinals of the 2015 Hockey India League. Valentin Altenburg’s side threw away their 2-1 lead as Harjeet Singh’s sensational goal ensured that Dabang Mumbai would finish at the bottom of the table.
Tom Boon Sits Out
Valentin Altenberg returned from his suspension to join his lieutenant Anil Aldrin in the dugout. Arjun Halappa was entrusted with the captain’s armband despite the presence of V.S Vinaya and Vikram Pillay. Headlines were made as Tom Boon took his place on the bench as he was replaced by the evergreen Glenn Turner.
Roelant Oltmans on the other hand went in with a pacey formation. S.K Uthappa, Nikkin Thimmaiah and Joeroen Hertzberger completed the attack.
Vikas Pillay Puts Dabang Mumbai Ahead
Surprisingly, it was Dabang Mumbai who took the lead with barely six minutes gone. A meaningful and determined drive from Glenn Turner from the half way line saw Vikas Pillay tuck in his first goal of the tournament. Despite being a strange goal and grazing the stick of Bharat Chikara, the goal was eventually credited to Vikas Pillay.
Nikkin Thimmaiah Scores Equalizer
The events that concluded the second quarter had a significant effect on the half time team talk given by Valentin Altenberg in particular. With 27 minutes played, Nikkin Thimmaiah found his name on the score sheet against the run of play. David Harte’s inability to clear the ball from danger saw the alert Nikkin capitalize and get the Wizards back on level terms.
Glenn Turner restored the lead late in the third quarter with 44 minutes played. His calm and collected push past custodian P.R Sreejesh, therefore restoring Dabang Mumbai’s lead.
Harjeet Singh Scores A Screamer
A few minutes after the Glenn Turner goal, the U.P Wizards found themselves attacking the core of Dabang Mumbai’s defence. Anticipating that another equalizer was on the cards, all resources were pooled into attack. Young Indian starlet Harjeet Singh found his name on the score sheet after he latched onto a cross from Jasjit Singh. Harjeet’s diving goal is certainly in contention to be the goal of the season.
Dabang Mumbai’s performance despite eye-catching, has seen them slip out of contention for a semifinal berth. However, Valentin Altenberg’s men will certainly be hoping to sign off from the 2015 Hockey India League with a bang.