Back in the reckoning with two consecutive victories, Delhi Waveriders would be eager to continue their winning momentum and leapfrog in the standings when they take on table toppers Dabang Mumbai in a round robin
match of the Hockey India league, here tomorrow.
The Delhi outfit led by Rupinder Pal Singh will go into the game riding high on confidence after victories over
Kalinga Lancers (6-4) and Uttar Pradesh Wizards (8-1) in their last two outings in the fifth edition of the tournament. The match will also provide the Waveriders a chance to avenge their loss against Dabang Mumbai.
When the two teams met earlier in Mumbai, Dabang Mumbai had scored a narrow 3-2 win with Affan Yousuf scoring twice for the hosts while the Waveriders goals came from penalty corners conversions by Rupinder Pal Singh and Justin Reid-Ross.
With just four round robin games remaining, the Waveriders cannot afford to slip any further and a win
tomorrow will keep them in the hunt for a semifinal spot. “We have four more games left in the league and the one
against Dabang Mumbai will be a good game and a win will keep our chances of making the semis intact,” Waveriders captain Rupinder Pal Singh said.
“They (Mumbai) are a tough team to beat and they have good results so far and one of their major plus point is their ability to comeback from a goal deficit to win matches. “I think we did very well in the past two games and
that’s given the team a lot of confidence. We were very strong in our defence against Kalinga Lancers which I think was a key factor in our win. We have a specific plan against Dabang Mumbai and I am confident the team will execute it, play to the home advantage and make opportunities count,” he added.
Having virtually secured their place in the semifinals, Dabang Mumbai will play without any kind of pressure tomorrow. With 28 points from eight games, German forward Florian Fuchs-led Dabang Mumbai are currently leading six-team standings.
“Last year we missed the semi-finals by goal difference and that was a heart break. This year, it was our clear goal
to reach the semis,” Fuchs said. For Dabang Mumbai, the remaining two games will provide them the perfect platform to fine tune their game ahead of the knockout stage of the tournament.
“We see the next two matches as a platform to improve and get sharper for the finals weekend in Chandigarh. Since we have almost made it to the semis already, we will play freely and with less pressure but having said that, we want to win those two games,” asserted Florian, who has scored eight goals in the league so far.
The German forward further insisted that the team has made great progress this year compared to last year and one of their key strengths has been their ability to comeback in crucial games.
“We have made big development through the season and have created a lot of chances. Defensively also we have done well and everyone is happy and upbeat. We did well in the start of the league getting some good wins,” he added.