Ranchi Rays bounced back with a 2-1 victory over Dabang Mumbai in Mumbai after losing their 1st match to Kalinga Lancers. After conceding a goal in the 3rd quarter in Mahindra Hockey Stadium, Ranchi Rays turned the match to their side with the help of double strike from Barry Middleton and defeated the host team by 2-1 in the 4th match of the Hero HIL 2015.
In the 1st quarter, Ranchi Rays successfully kept the ball in their possession and dominated the quarter with their high-spirited game. They continuously attacked on the opponents’ half and created many opportunities, but they faced the strong defence of Dabang Mumbai, who restricted their attacks. Ranchi Rays got their best chance to score where they managed to earn a crucial penalty corner in the 15th minute. Rays Justin Reid Ross received the shot and hit hard towards the box, but the gutsy midfielder Vikas Pillay thwarted the shot and failed the visitors’ attempt.
In the 2nd quarter, Dabang Mumbai stepped on the field with better strategies and attacked in the opponents’ den with more passion with the help of aggressive game by young duo – defender Harmanpreet Singh and Belgian forward Tom Boon. Ranchi Rays also increased their ball possession and tackled successfully against Dabang Mumbai’s passes. However, both the team failed to convert their opportunities into goals and could not open their account with the score at the end of half time reading 0-0.
In the 3rd quarter, it was Belgian player Tom Boon who finally opened the account with his hard hitting goal in the 39th minute and took Dabang Mumbai to the lead and also going on to register his first goal of the League. But the joy was short-lived for them as the visitors Ranchi Rays equalised the score 1-1 in the very next minute displaying seamless team coordination. New Zealand’s forward Nick Wilson out-foxed the opponents’ defenders and hit the shot toward the goal box, but the ball reflected back and his team-mate Barry Middleton spared no chance and sent back the ball in the box.
Ranchi Rays got another success in the 44th minute when Barry again outplayed the defenders and scored the second goal for his team, taking the lead 2-1. This time, forward player Mandeep Singh took the ball dribbling through in the opponents’ D and passed it to Barry on the other side. The Englishman showed few skills and sent the ball in the goal with his marvellous reverse shot, without giving any chance to Dabang Mumbai’s Irish goalkeeper David Harte.
In the 4th quarter, both the team came with aggressive strategies to score more goals and keep the match in their side. But at the same time they also kept their defence tight and gave no chance to their opponents. Despite the many attacks from both sides and earning penalty corners in the last quarter, the competing teams failed to materialise their opportunities into goals and the match finished at 2-1 scoreline.
Speaking after the spectacular win, Ranchi Rays Coach Harendra Singh stated, “As you know that it is still early days in the Hero HIL and all teams are fielding their best players and have the service of the world-class goalkeepers in their teams. Both the goalkeepers – Dabang Mumbai’s David Harte and our Lovell Tyler did a brilliant job in this match. Our Australian goal-keeper today showed his metal and made two wonderful saves. Our last match result was poor but performance was superb as we maintained 61% ball possession in the match. It shows our team is really strong with good team spirit and great atmosphere at our dressing room. Young Manpreet Singh played outstanding today and he is a great player. He is Virat Kohli of Hockey.”
Speaking after the victory, Man-of-the-Match for today Manpreet Singh said, “We lost our first match against Kalinga Lancers, we are happy that we won today. There was pressure on us because of the way Dabang Mumbai gave such tough competition to Jaypee Punjab Warriors yesterday. Our next match is against the Defending Champions, Delhi Waveriders and we will not allow pressure to take over us and we are looking forward to playing in front of our home crowd.”
Speaking after match, Dabang Mumbai’s Belgian player Tom Boon said, “We started well and implemented our strategies rightly. We had a good 2nd half and managed to create good chances. However, we made mistakes and failed to convert the chances in goals. Ranchi Rays played very well and they bounced back in the match amazingly. Despite of scoring the first goal in this match, we couldn’t maintain the lead. We will learn from these mistakes and surely play better in the next match.”
Hero Goal of the Match: Tom Boon (Dabang Mumbai)
Man of the Match: Manpreet Singh (Ranchi Rays)