HIL: Dabang Mumbai toys with Punjab Warriors

Nikkin Thimmaiah set the ball rolling with a ninth-minute goal while Florian Fuchs and Affan Yousuf struck twice each for a glorious 10-4 win in the Coal India-Hockey India League.

Vivek Bendre

Dabang Mumbai's Affan Yousuf (left) celebrates after scoring a goal against Jaypee Punjab Warriors in the Hockey India League, in Mumbai.   -  Vivek Bendre

Dabang Mumbai’s strikeforce unleashed its full fury on Jaypee Punjab Warriors, serving up a delightful treat of field goals for the home fans at the Mahindra Stadium on Friday.

Nikkin Thimmaiah set the ball rolling with a ninth-minute goal while Florian Fuchs and Affan Yousuf struck twice each for a glorious 10-4 win in the Coal India-Hockey India League.

Fuchs scored with power-packed shots on the run. Yousuf, smaller and muscular in comparison, tormented Warriors with quick movement and quicker hands. His first goal came with back to goal, the second by getting into position for trap and tap.

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The visiting team hit back with two field goals, but was always playing catch up.

Boosted by fightbacks in back-to-back games at home, Dabang was a confident group going into the third game.

Warriors got a sign of things to come in the ninth minute. Belgian Emmanuel Stockbroekx raced to the right flag and essayed a fierce shot into the goalmouth. Warriors custodian Tristan Clemons reacted in time to block the ball, but it rose for Thimmaiah to volley home.

A defensive slip-up, eight minutes later, saw Matthew Gohdes equalising. The Aussie forward, seized a gift from Harmanpreet, a neat shoulder feint allowed him to drift into space and squeeze the ball onto the boards from an acute angle.

Both sides kept attacking in the second quarter. Two penalty corners only added a flicker of excitement without goals.

Then Fuchs trapped a Kemperman pass, turned in quest of space and whacked a backhander. No Warriors player was in sight to challenge the German and Dabang’s second field goal swelled the lead to 4-2.

Fuchs later produced another stinging shot to the right corner to make it 6-2. But, Arman Qureshi directed home a pass from S. V. Sunil to keep the visitor within striking range.

In the fourth quarter, it was a Yousuf show.

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