Ranchi, 28 January 2015: Continuing the excitement of Hero Hockey India League, the crowd at Ranchi as well as the hockey fans across India witnessed yet another electrifying and staggering hockey at the Ranchi stadium today. With the crowd support behind Ranchi Rays, the team played with an aim to register their second win of the League while the visiting Dabang Mumbai team played to claim 5 full points. But what was witnessed an exciting match and yet another draw and with both the teams registering their second draw in the League. While Dabang Mumbai started the game by scoring quick scored 2 goals in the first quarter itself leaving the Ranchi home crowd silent, Ranchi Rays from the second quarter ensured that they leave no stone unturned to change the tables. The nail biting finish finally saw Ranchi Rays ensuring that Dabang Mumbai do not leave the field with a win and the game was drawn at 2-2.
The first quarter saw both teams looking at creating opportunities for themselves by attacking each other’s D. While both teams had almost equal possession of the ball in the initial ten minutes, the first goal finally came in the 12th minute. The breakthrough came for Dabang Mumbai when Harmanpreet Singh from the right wing passed the ball to Arjun Halappa standing right in front of the goal post. He further did no mistake in hitting the ball hard towards the goal and which was beautifully touched by Glen Turner ensuring the ball reached the net leaving the hosts stunned. With the score at 1-0 and Dabang Mumbai leading, within 3 minutes and in the 15th minute it was Glen Turner who from the left flank passed the ball to the unmarked Santa Singh standing in front of goal post and the composed 18 year old finished it coolly ensuring that he scores the second one for his team. With the scorecard at 2-0, in the dying seconds of the first quarter Ranchi Rays got its first penalty corner and a chance to close the goal gap. It was Adrian Austin who was under the test and was to be seen if he could stop the goal. But unfortunately for Ranchi they could not convert the goal and Dabang Mumbai lead the game 2-0 at the end of the quarter.
The second quarter started with Ranchi Rays starting the session with clear determination to come back into the game. Without wasting any time Ranchi attacked the D of Dabang Mumbai and seamless passes in the opponents D allowed the 21 year old Daniel Beale to score a back handed field goal for his team, taking the score to 1-2. Post that while Ranchi Rays created many opportunities to score but were unable to net the ball. The first half ended with Dabang Mumbai still leading the game by 2-1.
The third quarter started with the teams high on momentum. Five minutes into the 3rd quarter, Ranchi Rays claimed a penalty corner putting the young Adrian again on the test. Ashely Jackson taking the penalty corner flicked hard but was wide of the goal, hence loosing the opportunity to equalize. Within a minute and in the 37th minute, Ranchi Rays was awarded with another penalty corner and this time Ashley did no mistake in converting and ensuring that Ranchi Rays equalised. With the score tied at 2-2, both teams knew it would be anyone’s game from here. While both teams attacked, but were unable to score any further goal and the third quarter ended with 2-2 on the board.
With 15 minutes to go in the fourth quarter and everything to play for, both teams looked completely determined to win. Four minutes into the fourth quarter Mandeep Singh made a perfect pass from the right flank but unfortunately the ball did not find any of the Ranchi Rays player to complete the touch and the goal. With five minutes left in the game, Floris Evers had a chance to score the third goal for the team, but the alert Lovell Tyler ensured that the ball didn’t go past him into the goal. With just 2 minutes left in the game, Ranchi Rays again had a chance through Mandeep Singh but was yet again saved by the Mumbai goalie leaving the hosts frustrated. The match ended with both team settling for a draw, 2-2.
Speaking post the draw Head Coach Valentin Altenburg said “We were leading the game and had a good chance to finish the game with a win. We started well and scored two back to back goals. They came back strongly and left us surprised. We continued our aggressive game but we cannot do away with the fact they have an experienced defence. Though we lost the match but I am happy and satisfied with the way the boys performed. Overall the game was competitive and we enjoyed watching the match”.
Commenting on the draw, Head Coach Harendra Singh, Ranchi rays said “It was a lack of alertness from the team in the first quarter and which led to us conceding two quick goals. But we came back strongly and which is the strength of our team to bounce back. We will work on our mental alertness and ensure we do not give away easy goals. The league is still open and we can judge a team after 6 matches and I am happy with the team’s performance. We will work on the loopholes that came out of today’s match”.
Hero Goal of the Match – Ashley Jackson, Ranchi Rays
Man of the Match – Ashley Jackson, Ranchi Rays
29 Jan 2015 (Ranchi) – 1900 HRS KL vs. UPW