Kalinga Lancers brought an end to table toppers Dabang Mumbai’s unbeaten streak at home, that included three back to back wins, with a come-from-behind 4-3 win in the Hockey India League contest.
The Lancers, who secured five points from their third win in five games to take their tally to 15, thus narrowed the gap between themselves and Mumbai to three points. The hosts still led the table with 18 points to their credit, getting one point from today’s loss due to the narrow margin of defeat.
Mumbai, in fact, took the lead against the run of play through a penalty-stroke converted by Harmanpreet Singh who also scored their third goal in the third quarter.
For the Lancers, the goal getters were skipper Fuerste Moritz, who scored two penalty corner goals in short succession, and Bakker Billy who scored a field goal.
All goals for the winners came in the third quarter after they trailed the home team 0-2 at half time.
Mumbai thus ended their home engagements for the season with one draw, followed by three wins and a loss, and will be on the road for the remaining five games in their endeavour to enter the play off for the first time.
The table-toppers are to clash with former two-time winners Ranchi Rays in their first away game on February 2 while Lancers will host defending champions Jaypee Punjab Warriors at Bhubaneswar the next day.
In today’s game, Mumbai took the lead against the run of play through a penalty stroke whose conversion is counted as two as per the tournament rules.
Their ebullient forward Robbert Kemperman was about to shoot into goal after an intricate move inside the ‘D’ by the Mumbai team when his stick was hooked by Lancers’ Amit Rohidas.
Harmanpreet made no mistake from the spot as he beat the rival goalie Andrew Charter with a flick to the root of the net.
Mumbai also earned three penalty corners in succession but failed to score and the two teams crossed over with the home team leading 2-0.
Lancers hit back through their captain Fuerste Moritz who converted two penalty corners in as many minutes early in the third quarter to help his side draw level 2-2.
The visitors also took the lead for the first time in the match through a field goal when Bakker put his stick forward to deflect in a cross into the circle from the left side by Anand Lakra in the 40th minute.
Mumbai pulled one back just before the end of the 45th minute of play when Harmanpreet scored off the team’s seventh penalty corner award to make it 4-3 in the Lancers’ favour.
But both the teams failed to score in the final quarter although they each earned one penalty corner award. In all Mumbai secured 8 short corners in comparison to their rivals’ seven.