Mumbai, 23 January 2015: It was a day when the runners-up team of the last edition, Jaypee Punjab Warriors and the newly formed outfit, Dabang Mumbai clashed in their first match of the 3rd edition of Hero Hockey India League 2015. The match witnessed some high voltage moves, thrilling moments and a nail biting finish which left the spectators wanting for more from the star boy Tom Boon and Legend Jamie Dwyer. The 60 minute game shifted gear with every goal scored but was drawn at the end at 3-3, as both the teams did not allow the other to walk away with a win in today’s electrifying match.
With Dabang Mumbai having a fantastic first quarter, they scored the first goal in the 7th minute and which came from the stick of the young Harmanpreet Singh who successfully converted the penalty corner that the team got, leaving the Warriors surprised. In the entire first session while Jaypee Punjab Warriors created opportunities for themselves, the host team successfully managed to keep the opponents at bay and refrained them from equalizing. With the first quarter closing at 1-0 in favor of Dabang Mumbai, Jaypee Punjab Warriors were aware that they had a job cut out for themselves.
The second quarter started with JPW going on the attack immediately but was stopped by Dabang Mumbai who was aware that they could not lose control over the match. While the Jaypee Punjab Warriors attacked in almost the entire session, the Dabang boys did not allow the opponents any chance to take the better of them and managed to control the game in their favor. Just seconds away Dabang Mumbai had a brilliant chance to score but a heroic save by Jaap Stockmann yet again kept the hosts to score their second goal and taking the lead further, leaving the second quarter goalless. With the second half score at 1-0 still had Dabang Mumbai leading the game and the visiting team trailing.
Japyee Punjab Warriors started the third quarter with passion and this was proved by Captain Jamie Dywer who scored an unbelievable field goal which helped the visiting team to level the scores at 1-1 in the 32nd minute. With Game on, it was to be seen who will thrive under pressure and come out as the winner. Jaypee Punjab Warriors realizing that they had the edge here went on the attack. With all eyes on Jamie Dwyer, he lived to the expectation as he nipped through the defence of Dabang Mumbai on a couple of occasions. Half way through the third quarter, Jamie managed a good deflection towards the goal post but was brilliantly saved by David Harte the goalkeeper. Coming into play again the Dabang Mumbai goalie saved yet again in the very next minute, giving Jaypee Punjab Warriors a tough time to get through him.
With the fourth and final quarter set to being the decider session for the game both the teams came back into the field with a determination to win. It was finally Chinglensana Singh in the 50th minute went through the defence of Japyee Punjab Warriors and scored a field goal. This allowed the hosts to take the lead and the game went in their favor 2-1. This got Jaypee Punjab Warriors on the backfoot but they knew there was still 10 minutes left in the game and they could still turn it around.
Post winning a penalty corner in the 56th minute Jaypee Punjab Warriors was awarded a penalty stroke in their name. Sandeep Singh took the stroke and ensured that this time he doesn’t miss to get the ball past the goalkeeper. The goal from Sandeep tied the game at 2-2 and with 4 minutes left in the game both the teams went on the attack.
With just a minute left for the final whistle to blow, Jaypee Punjab Warriors got the chance to take the lead through a penalty corner opportunity. Sandeep Singh yet again he did not commit any any mistake and converted, helping the team to take the lead to 3-2. Here it seemed Jaypee Punjab Warriors had the game in their kitty but Dabang Mumbai’s Chinglensana threw the surprise by scoring a brilliant field goal in the dying seconds and tied the match at 3-3.
Speaking post the draw Head Coach Valentin Altenburg said “It was a huge finish by Chinglensana today and we believe we can come back in the next match. Both Harmanpreet and Chinglensana played brilliant games and David did a great job in protecting our goal. I think Chinglensana realizes that he is so strong post his goals today. We played against a well built composed team and they gave us a tough time. I was not satisfied as we did not do a great job in protecting our circle and there were many circle penetrations. The first goal scored by JPW was a brilliant goal and we also did a good job in not allowing them the penalty corner conversions. For the game against Ranchi Rays we have to work on our defence. Ranchi Rays is a strong team and we really have to get our defence together.”
Commenting on the draw, Head Coach Barry Dancer, Jaypee Punjab Warriors said “It was a good game and the boys came back well. We played well and they played well too. Thankfully we played good in the 3rd and 4th quarter. Mumbai team was good in the first half and they were unlucky later on. We didn’t control some of the better players of the Mumbai team but we aim to be better in our next game. They won the first half and we won the second half”.