Ranchi Rays defeated table toppers Dabang Mumbai 7-3 in the 12th match of the Coal India Hockey India League (HIL) at the AstroTurf Hockey Stadium here on Thursday.
Skipper Florian Fuchs (second minute), Affan Yousuf (51st minute) were the goal scorers for Mumbai, while Ashley Jackson (5th and 49th) and Mohammad Amir Khan (16th minute) and Imran Khan (57th minute) scored for the hosts who came into the match winless in the last two matches.
Both teams started the match at a frenetic pace, attacking each other constantly, as a result the 12th match of the league saw two field goals in the first five minutes of the game.
The opening goal was scored by Mumbai’s Fuchs in the second minute. After a few fumbles, the ball landed in front of him in the circle and he reverse hit the ball into the net to give his team a 2-0 lead.
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Almost immediately, Ranchi Rays, who were playing the match without their star player Christopher Ruhr equalled the scoreline.
Skipper Jackson found the back of the net when his team needed it the most. The seasoned Britain player deflected Manpreet Singh’s free hit into the net to bring back his team into the contest.
After two quick goals, both teams slowed down the game and Ranchi controlled the ball possession for most of the time.
In the second quarter, the hosts didn’t take too long to put pressure on Mumbai with yet another field goal taking their lead to a comfortable 4-2.
In the 16th minute, Flynn Ogilve ran in and passed to Amir, standing at the left flank, and the latter tapped the ball into an empty net.
Soon after conceding a goal, Mumbai started counter-attacking but the defence of the home side was more powerful to deny the chances.
Minutes into the third quarter, the hosts made unnecessary fouls which led to a penalty corner but Mumbai failed to convert it.
In the 27th minute, custodian David Harte saved a brilliant shot to stop Ranchi from extending their lead.
The hosts went into the 10-minute break at half-time leading the table toppers 4-2.
The third quarter saw a more attacking game with both teams pressing hard. It was Mumbai who won a penalty corner but Harmanpreet Singh dragged it outside the goal mouth.
Playing with 10 players in the dying minutes of the quarter, Mumbai were offered a goal opportunity but they missed and as a result both teams ended the third quarter at the same score.
In an exciting final quarter, the match saw many circle penetrations and counter attacks from both the teams.
The match turned in Ranchi’s favour when Robbert Kemperman got a blow to his head while defending a penalty corner, resulting in a penalty stroke which was converted by Jackson to make it 5-2.
With just over 11 minutes left for the final hooter, Ranchi were given a penalty corner and Affan Yousuf grabbed it with both hands off a rebound.
The last five minutes saw the intensity rise to the optimum level. It was Ranchi who sealed the match in their favour as Imran slammed a Sarvanjit Singh pass in the 57th minute to give the hosts a 7-3 victory.