Match 7 of the Coal India Hockey India League was played between the Jaypee Punjab Warriors and Dabang Mumbai at the Sector 42 Hockey stadium in Chandigarh. On a cold Sunday evening, it was the home side that prevailed with a 3-1 victory and hence picked up five points to go to the top of the HIL 2016 table. Two first-half goals from Armaan Qureshi and Christopher Ciriello were sufficient for the Punjab Warriors to complete an incontrovertible win.
Armaan finds early opener for Punjab Warriors, Ciriello increases the lead:
The visitors got off to a bright start and found some early scoring opportunities. Florian Fuchs was impressive with his circle penetrations but the other Mumbai forwards were unable to make vital deflections. In one such event, The young German attacker pushed the ball towards Roshan Minz in front of the goal post but the Indian could not make any contact with the ball.
The Punjab Warriors opened their account in the 9th minute through Armaan Qureshi who was assisted by the Australian duo of Mark Knowles and Matt Gohdes. Knowles first dribbled the ball for about 20 yards and then passed the ball to Gohdes, who was waiting in the right-hand side of the shooting circle. He played the ball forward to Qureshi and the Indian youngster slapped the ball past the Mumbai keeper. The Sardar Singh-led team had another chance of scoring in the 21st minute as Dabang Mumbai conceded a penalty corner. Australian penalty corner specialist Chris Ciriello drove his captain’s injection to perfection as the ball rocketed past the defensive wall and crashed into the top right corner of the goal. At half-time, the score was 3-0 in favour of the Punjab Warriors.
Dabang Mumbai did not seem to be intimidated by the scoreline and continued to play fearlessly. This approach earned them a penalty corner in the 39th minute and Harmanpreet Singh successfully converted his drag-flick to pull one back for the visitors. Mumbai were awarded another penalty corner with only a couple of minutes played but this time, Harmanpreet could not get the better of the Punjab Warriors’ Australian keeper Tristan Clemons. The last quarter saw some more chances being squandered for the home side. Jasjit Singh Kular missed two penalty corner attempts and SV Sunil and Gurwinder Singh Chandi failed to capitalize on a potential field goal opportunity. In the end, the Punjab Warriors won the game 3-1 and scaled to the top of the league table with 11 points from 3 games.