The match began at a brisk pace in front of a low spectator turnout. Dharamvir Singh tapped in a long corner to open the scoring for Punjab in as early as the third minute. Mumbai’s Satbir Singh however cancelled out Dharamvir’s effort when he tapped in from close range for 1-1 three minutes later. And just as things began to hot up on the field, off it, one of the light bulbs in one of the four floodlight towers overheated and blew out.
An agonising one hour’s interruption followed during which a helpless-sounding hostess was seen almost desperately trying to get the thoroughly bored audience on its feet. Play resumed and much to the joy of the Mumbai public, a Sandeeep Singh drag-flick sneaked in off the pads of Punjab goalkeeper Jacob Stockmann for 2-1 in the 32nd minute. A goalless third quarter saw Mumbai get complacent suggesting the match was in the bag.
However, two-time FIH World Player of the Year and Punjab skipper Jamie Dwyer had other ideas. He first neatly tapped in a rebound over onrushing Mumbai ’keeper PR Sreejesh for 2-2 in the 56th minute, and then four minutes later, relayed a pin-point cross from a long corner that found Ranjit Singh planted in front of the Mumbai goal and needing to merely tap in to give Punjab a 3-2 lead with 10 minutes to play.
SV Sunil made a fine run down the centre and offered Dharamvir one of the easiest of tap-ins off a neat combination move to seal the tie in the final minute of play, leaving Mumbai searching for answers to their defensive frailties.
Meanwhile, Mumbai chief coach Ric Charlesworth revealed that he had video evidence of the Punjab side having fielded 12 players during the last five minutes. “We have pointed this out to the technical officials and it will be interesting to see what happens,” said Charlesworth.