Mumbai, Jan 31 (IANS) Captain Moritz Furste’s twin penalty corner conversions inspired Kalinga Lancers to end their two-match losing streak as they stunned high-flying Dabang Mumbai 4-3 in the Coal India Hockey India League (HIL) at the Mahindra Hockey Stadium here on Tuesday.
The German talisman struck twice in the first three minutes of the third quarter to pull Kalinga back on level terms after Harmanpreet Singh’s successful conversion of a penalty stroke incurred from field play had given the hosts a 2-0 lead in the 27th minute.
Glenn Turner’s 40th minute deflection goal meant that Kalinga led 4-2. But Harmanpreet got into the act again with a successful penalty corner conversion to reduce the gap to one in the 43rd minute.
However, Kalinga held on to the lead with an improved defensive display as they cemented their second spot with 15 points from five matches, while Mumbai remained on top with 17 points from five matches. Ranchi Rays are third with 10 points, while Uttar Pradesh Wizards, with six points from two matches, are fourth.
Kalinga, who had conceded 17 goals during two back-to-back losses to Ranchi Rays and UP Wizards, looked determined to improve and pressed higher early, forcing the Mumbai outfit to absorb pressure.
The visitors played with a better structure, with the players not leaving their positions like they did in the two losses and the strikers too charged back to help their defenders.
Kalinga’s intensity earned them a penalty corner and a variation tactic followed as Kalinga’s preferred drag-flickers Gurjinder singh and Furste were at the sidelines. The first touch proved to be heavy and the ball moved away from the supposed flicker Billy Bakker. The Dutchman, however, managed to hit at the target but was unable to beat goalkeeper David Harte.
After absorbing the pressure for the better part of the first quarter, Mumbai slowly gathered steam and Emmanuel Stockbroekx was the first to get an opportunity but his shot was way off the mark.
Meanwhile, Kalinga failed to pounce on a quick counter-attack from Australian duo of Glenn Turner and Aran Zalewski. While Turner’s drive was denied by Harte, Zalewski’s baseline cross found no Kalinga player at the right post in the 25th minute.
Two minutes later, Mumbai broke the deadlock as Amit Rohidas stopped Robbert Kemperman’s shot at the target with a stick-check, resulting in a penalty stroke. Harmanpreet stepped up and fired to the roof at the left post to beat Kalinga’s Australian goalkeeper Andrew Charter to make it 2-0.
The goal was followed by a barrage of attacks from Mumbai, with an unmarked Kieran Govers’ back-hander being foiled by Charter. The Australian custodian also denied two penalty corners seconds before half-time.
Trailing 0-2, Kalinga turned the heat on Mumbai and earned two penalty corners which were brilliantly converted by Furste in the 32nd and 33rd minute to bring his team back on level terms.
Mumbai’s response to the two quick goals was sharp and they too earned two penalty corners but Charter & Co were alert.
Meanwhile, Kalinga took a surprising 4-2 lead in the 40th minute as Dipsan Tirkey’s cross from the left was deflected in by an unmarked Turner.
Two minutes later, Mumbai scored their third goal as Harmanpreet’s second attempt at a penalty corner chance beat an out-of-position Charter.
Following the goal, Mumbai pulled out their best to equalise but were unable to equalise, leading to their first loss of the campaign.