HIL: Mumbai wins 5-2, denies Lancers semifinal spot

Mumbai's fourth win helped it regain the top spot and lingered Kalinga Lancers wait to book a slot in the semifinal of the Hockey India League on Sunday.

Mumbai defended strongly and targetted some of the key Lancers players, including Glenn Turner and Moritz Fuerste.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Dabang Mumbai gave a commanding performance to beat Kalinga Lancers 5-2 in the grudge match and spoil the latter's plans of ending its home assignments on a high at the Kalinga Stadium here on Sunday.

Mumbai's fourth win helped it regain the top spot and lingered Lancers wait to book a slot in the semifinal of the Hockey India League. The neck-and-neck contest began promptly with both sides pressing hard and earning penalty corners in the opening quarter.

Lancers warded off an early danger through a successful video referral that reversed the first penalty corner awarded to Mumbai. It blocked another to keep its post safe. The host won two but could not make most of those.

Employing tight marking, Mumbai defended strongly and targetted some of the key Lancers players, including Glenn Turner and Moritz Fuerste.

Johan Bjorkman, who was fed by Nikkin Thimmaiah, missed a fine chance in front of the Lancers' goal, while Dharamvir Singh's spirited run was thwarted by dashing Mumbai goalkeeper David Harte.

Mumbai worked the ball well to secure two penalty corners in second quarter and Harmanpreet stunned the host through a deceptive flick at awkward height in the 23rd minute.

Lancers made some hard work to breach the Mumbai wall but the touring side's back line stood like a rock under the guidance of Sander de Wijn, who not only tackled the opponents with efficiency but made loud calls to his colleagues to plug the gaps.

Mumbai, which resorted to some quick counter-attacks, had a better grip over the proceedings when its captain Florian Fuchs hammed in a reverse hit after receiving a long and hard drive just after the change of ends.

Mumbai pumped in another goal, this time Gurjant Singh firing in with a reverse stick seven minutes from the hooter and triggering premature departure of the loyal Lancers fans.

Lancers' finishing woes finally ended when Turner scored in the dying minutes. However, it was too little and came too late.

The result: Dabang Mumbai 5 (Harmanpreet Singh PC 23, Florian Fuchs 2FG 31, Gurjant Singh 2FG 53) bt Kalinga Lancers 2 (Glenn Turner 2FG 57)