Hockey India League: Dabang Mumbai prove mettle with narrow 2-1 win – The Mumbai outfit snatched victory from defending champions Punjab Warriors.
Representational Image (Getty Images)
A magnificent 60th-minute goal by Dabang Mumbai's Robbert Kemperman snatched victory from defending champions Punjab Warriors by a narrow 2-1 margin in the Hockey India League on Saturday.
Tristan Clemons continued his fine form as he starred in the first quarter for Jaypee Punjab Warriors. The alert Aussie saved two field goals that could have taken Dabang Mumbai's lead to 4-0. First it was Florian Fuchs' attempt in the third minute of the match when he turned around a tactical dribble in the circle to take a strike twice and on both occasions Clemons was perfect in padding it away.
With just four minutes remaining for the first hooter, it was young Affan Yousuf who made space in the circle to take a shot at the goal, and the defence by the home team kept the goal at bay ending the first quarter in a stalemate.
Clemons was kept busy through the second quarter too with Dabang Mumbai making forays into the circle. Yousuf came close to earning a goal yet again but was denied promptly by Clemons. Jake Whetton had a great opportunity to score for Jaypee Punjab Warriors seconds before the half time when he attempted a reverse stick shot after a good assist by SV Sunil, but it was too wide from the post.
The Third quarter proved to be lucky for the home team as they took a 1-0 lead in the 37th minute when Mink van der Weerden, who has been in incredible nick this season, converted a PC for the defending champions sending a powerful flick to the left top corner of the post. This was his fifth successful attempt at scoring a PC in this season.
Later, they overcame a close shave when the umpires upheld a video referral by Jaypee Punjab Warriors who insisted that Clemons was deliberately obstructed by Gurjant Singh at the post when Nilakanta Sharma successfully converted a field goal.
A rookie mistake by the Dabang Mumbai forward denied the table toppers a 2-1 lead. The visitors made as many as nine circle entries this quarter but failed to convert the chances. The fourth quarter saw some dramatic action, with Dabang Mumbai pushing hard for a goal and Clemons continued to impress helping his team retain the lead.
The defenders too did well at keeping dangermen Florian Fuchs, Affan Yousuf and Nikkin Thimmaiah in the forward line at bay. But a 60th minute goal proved their mettle yet again when Robbert Kemperman scored a brilliant field goal to steal the match.