Mumbai: Dabang Mumbai produced one of the most comprehensive performances of the 2017 Hockey India League (HIL) as they beat defending champions Jaypee Punjab Warriors 10-4 on Friday to register their second win in the fifth season of the tournament.
In HIL, a team is given two points for a field goal; all the seven goals which were scored in the game were field goals.
Dabang Mumbai head coach Jay Stacy was elated after the victory as he felt that his team implemented the gameplan to perfection.
“Our plan was to get off to a controlled aggressive start, we wanted to control the ball and I think we did that consistently throughout the match,” said Stacy. “There were some certain periods when the opposition held the ball, but that’s hockey.”
The former Australian midfielder was happy with the fact that Dabang Mumbai created a flurry of excellent chances throughout the game.
“I think we created well, we created few beautiful chances and we finished few. So, I am pretty pleased with the performance, but naturally there are few areas where we need to improve,” said the coach.
With this win, Mumbai have jumped to the top of the rankings ahead of Kalinga lancers and would be hoping to maintain the same momentum.
“I sense some momentum and we have been trying to build that right through the training camp as well, from session to session. We have more cohesion within the group,” added Stacy.
German Florian Fuchs and Affan Yousuf scored twice for Mumbai after Nikkin Thimmiah opened the scoring for the home team. Fuchs, who is also Mumbai’s captain, credited the whole team for the win.
“As a striker you are glad when you finally score but as the coach said it was a great team effort,” said Fuchs. “This is a team sport and we played outstanding together. Everybody can sense that we are a strong group that bonded very quickly. I think it’s remarkable for a group that has played together only for two weeks now.”
This was Punjab’s first game of the 5th HIL edition but head coach Barry Dance didn’t use that as an excuse and congratulated the opposition on their win and performance.
“It was a great spectacle for local fans but it’s very disappointing for our team to have such a bad start to the tournament but Mumbai are playing some very good attacking and defensive hockey and they deserved the result,” said Barry.
The veteran Australian coach also sounded a warning that his team needs to improve soon to avoid getting under the pressure.
“We have to improve soon and if we do not improve in the next few games then we will be putting ourselves under a lot of pressure,” concluded the coach....