Mumbai thrash Delhi 8-3 to stay alive in HIL semis race

Dabang Mumbai scored four field goals in the final quarter to register a stunning 8-3 victory as Delhi Waveriders suffered their fourth consecutive defeat in the Coal India Hockey India League (HIL) at the Shivaji Hockey Stadium here on Tuesday.

After Delhi took a 3-0 lead, thanks to Steven Edwards’ (22nd minute) field goal, counted as two in this edition of the HIL, and Rupinder Pal Singh’s ninth set-piece goal of the campaign in the 39th minute, Mumbai turned it around through Danish Mujtaba (49th), Nilakanta Sharma (52nd) and a brace from unheralded Manpreet (57th and 58th).

With their third straight win, Australian legend Jay Stacy-coached Mumbai jumped to the fourth spot with 19 points from seven matches, pushing down Uttar Pradesh Wizards (18 points from seven matches) and Delhi Waveriders (17 points from eight matche) to the fifth and sixth spots respectively. Incidentally, it was also third straight home defeat for Cedric D’Souza’s boys.

Mumbai initially lacked penetration as the home team showed intent for the first time in the 18th minute. Delhi attempted a penalty corner variation tactics in the 18th minute but they were not able to execute it properly.

But they didn’t have to wait for longer time as they continued to penetrate the rival circle. In one such instance, New Zealander Edwards sounded the board after a tap-in to a Simon Child pass in the 22nd minute to help his team take a 2-0 lead.

Delhi continued to surge ahead in the third quarter as Canadian midfielder found a foot of a defender, earning a penalty corner in the 39th minute. Rupinder came up with a stunning flick to beat 2015’s World Goalkeeper of the Year David Harte. With this goal, Delhi took a 3-0 lead.

Trailing 0-3, Mumbai showed some desperation in the final quarter and Gurjant Singh earned a penalty corner which was put to no use in the 48th minute.

However, Mujtaba’s successful deflection into the goal off a Vikas Sharma’s drive brought the visiting side back into the match in the 49th minute.

The goal injected much needed energy into the Mumbai camp and they came out with the second field goal three minutes later when Nilakanta tapped in from a goal-melee.

Later, the one-two play of skipper Matthew Swann and German striker Florian Fuchs paid dividends as Delhi’s defence was stunned. Manpreet scored twice to put an end to Delhi’s hopes as they crumbled to a 3-8 loss, putting a dent to their semi-finals hopes.

To boost their semi-final chances, Mumbai travel back to host Jaypee Punjab Warriors, while Delhi entertain table-toppers Ranchi Rays on Thursday.