Table toppers Delhi Waveriders rounded off their league campaign at the second edition of Hero Hockey India League (HHIL) in style, beating Dabur Mumbai Magicians 5-3 in a high-scoring match at the Mahindra Hockey Stadium in Mumbai.
Delhi Waveriders started the match as favourites and took the lead in the third minute through Yuvraj Walmiki, who got a deflection from Akashdeep Singh’s rebound shot.
Dabur Mumbai Magicians, however, drew level seven minutes later when Glenn Turner (10th minute) scored a field goal before Delhi Waveriders restored their lead in the next minute through veteran Rajpal Singh’s 11th minute) field strike.
It was an entertaining first quarter as both the teams matched each other stick by stick but it was the visitors who enjoyed a slender one goal lead at the first break.
After intense battle for most part of the second quarter, Dabur Mumbai Magicians drew their second blood through Timothy Devin’s (35th minute) field goal just 20 second from half time as both the teams went into the breather locked at 2-2.
But young Akashdeep (36th minute) restored Delhi Waveriders lead with a beautiful field goal just after the lemon break.
Rajpal (54th minute) was once again at the thick of things as he scored another field goal to extend Delhi Waveriders lead.
Delhi Waveriders made the scoreline 5-2 in their favour when Rupinderpal Singh converted his side’s first penalty corner in the 58th minute.
Dabur Mumbai Magicians earned as many as five penalty corners in the match but converted just one to sum their day in office.
Turner (68th) made use of the fifth and final penalty corner two minutes from the final hooter to reduce the margin for the hosts.
The win gave Delhi Waveriders five points that means they drew curtains to their league campaign with 39 points from 10 games, which includes seven wins, two losses and one draw.
Dabur Mumbai Magicians, on the other hand, suffered their seventh defeat in the tournament out of eight games and are lying at the end of the points table with nine points from eight matches.
Hero Goal of the match winner –Rajpal Singh
YES Bank Garv Award winner – Rajpal Singh
Man of the Match – Akashdeep Singh
Speaking to the media, Cedric D’Souza, Coach, Delhi Waveriders said, “We are never happy with the goals we score as we are always hungry for more. We wanted to win and continue the momentum . Mix of experience and youth is really helping us. It is very difficult to say which team is a strong contender as all teams are very strong.
Sardar Singh, Captain, Delhi Waveriders said, “Today’s win has further enhanced team confidence. We were looking forward to adding this win to our kitty. I am looking forward to the semis now and yet ensure that I am there for the team whenever the team wants me.”
M K Kaushik, Coach Dabur Mumbai Magicians said, “We played well and attacked hence led goals. We were however beaten at the counter attack. No one is to be blamed for the defeats. But yes I am happy with team’s attacking prowess. We will keep our attacking strategy intact for tomorrow but will also make sure that we are tight in defence as well. Mumbai crowd understands hockey and I am happy that they have in huge numbers to support the team.”
P R Sreejesh, Captain Dabur Mumbai Magicians said, “It is disappointing to concede goals. We badly wanted to win but were again beaten on the counter attack. Goal keeping has been tough too with so many leading players to fight. But it is a great learning and wonderful experience.”
Dabur Mumbai Magicians will next face debutants Kalinga Lancers in their penultimate league match at the same ground here tomorrow, while Delhi Waveriders will wait anxiously to know their opponents in the semifinals, scheduled to be held in Ranchi on February 22.