Field goals win it for Dabang Mumbai

Goalkeeper David Harte turned match-saver for Dabang Mumbai with a series of blocks with forwards Florian Fuchs and Affan Yousuf scoring a field goal each as the home side beat Uttar Pradesh Wizards 6-3 here on Tuesday.

Dabang Mumbai moves into fifth place (25 points) after today’s win, behind Ranchi Rays, Punjab Warriors, Kalinga Lancers. UP Wizards remain on 25 points, but dropped down to sixth due to an inferior goal difference.   -  Prashant Nakwe

Goalkeeper David Harte turned match-saver for Dabang Mumbai with a series of blocks with forwards Florian Fuchs and Affan Yousuf scoring a field goal each as the home side beat Uttar Pradesh Wizards 6-3 here on Tuesday.

Dabang Mumbai moves into fifth place (25 points) after today’s win, behind Ranchi Rays, Punjab Warriors, Kalinga Lancers. UP Wizards remain on 25 points, but dropped down to sixth due to an inferior goal difference.

Wizards’ custodian P. R. Sreejesh saved a penalty stroke with typical confidence but ended on the losing side in a must-win game for both teams. He was helpless when his own defender deflected in a Gurjant attempt from an acute angle for the first blow. Fuchs’s anticipation and reaction to create the second field goal for DM, scooping in a short pass from behind first time with body facing the sideline was top-class.

When Yousuf dived to sweep home the third field goal almost at the hooter, the Wizards had no goalkeeper. Coach Roger van Gent took off Sreejesh and threw in an extra forward with the team trailing by a goal at 3-4 and two minutes left.

The home team went ahead in the first quarter when the rivals were a player short. UP captain Ockenden Edward got temporary suspension and saw his team win a referral for penalty corner. DM custodian Harte, always in position in the first quarter, blocked the flick. The bouncing ball was relayed across the length of the turf and in two touches was at the other goalmouth. Gurjant barged in, held off a defender’s challenge on the turf and swept the ball in.

DM, two goals up in the second quarter, found their saviour in Harte, foiling back-to-back penalty corner attempts with pad and gloves. Raghunath pierced the shield with a crisp penalty corner. UP got a goal in, though were down 2-1. Jamie Dwyer then got his marching orders from umpires for coming in the way of Swann, who wove his way through the field in an inspiring run from deep. Chinglensnana Singh slammed home a clearance for a timely punch by the visitor, the field goal changing the scoreline 3-2 in UP’s favour.

Sreejesh under the UP bar became the focus of attention when DM were awarded a penalty stroke. Haywards relayed the ball to Fuchs as the home team went for an indirect route. Hayward’s dragged goal bound from the spot, only to find the goalkeeper calmly palming the ball away. DM discovered attacking rhythm in the third quarter. Nilakantha set off on a dangerous run, looked up and slipped a diagonal pass for Fuchs to swing the ball home on the run. The lead had swung the other way with the home team leading up 4-3.

The fourth quarter produced end-to-end action, as both teams went all-out in cool conditions. UP sent in Surajkantha in place of Sreejesh, the former was not in the frame when a Gurjant Singh-Affran Yousuf move culminated in a stunning dive and sweep into an empty goal by the latter. DM struck when it mattered for a 6-3 win and signed off the fourth game at Mahindra stadium with a victory. The home team have four wins and six losses in the 10 matches. The visitors suffered its sixth defeat in 10 games.

Scores: Dabang Mumbai 6 (Gurjant Singh 14 fg, Florian Fuchs 42 fg, Affan Yousuf 59-fg) bt UP Wizards 3 (V Raghunath 19 pc, Chinglensana Singh 30 fg)