Hosts Dabang Mumbai and last year's runners-up Punjab Warriors played out an exciting 3-3 draw in their opening game of the Hockey India League (HIL) at the MHA-Mahindra Stadium yesterday.
Dabang Mumbai's Chinglensana Singh(right) celebrates after scoring with teammates at MHA-Mahindra Stadium yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble.
Mumbai went ahead twice only for Punjab to draw level on both occasions. At 2-2, the visitors took the lead through a goal by India discard Sandeep Singh to raise hopes of a Punjab come-from-behind win. But the home team had other ideas as they scored in the final minute through their international Chinglensana Singh to earn a draw.
The first goal was scored in the first quarter by Mumbai’s junior India international Harmanpreet Singh (8th minute) via a penalty corner. However, the visitors equalised in the third quarter through Australia’s Jamie Dwyer (33rd minute). Dwyer took advantage of a weak clearance on the left and beat Mumbai goalie David Harte with a rising shot to the far post.
Punjab then held sway with repeated forays into the Mumbai area but it was the home team that took the lead again against the run of play through India international Chinglensana whose top of the circle shot brooked no stopping.
Punjab were then awarded a penalty stroke as Mumbai captain Vikram Pillay stopped a Christopher Ciriello dragflick with his foot. Sandeep shot to the right of Harte to make it 2-2 four minutes before the final hooter. He then scored again to give the visitors hopes of an away, only for Chinglensana to shatter their dreams in the dying minutes.