Justin Reid Ross’s 11th minute field goal gave Ranchi Rhinos a solitary-goal win over Mumbai Magicians in the Hero Hockey India League — its fourth win in six matches.
Ranchi captain Moritz Furste sparked the move leading to the goal with a crisp reverse-hit pass. Mumbai was taken by surprise when Ross moved forward in time for the pass, picked up the ball and advanced on his own. By the time the defence closed in, he had made space for a rasping reverse hit into the net.
Mumbai did not manage a clear shot at goal in the first quarter and tentative defence at the back ensured the pressure was on the home team.
Rhinos showed confidence as they positioned their forwards deep into the rival half and in the process created space in the midfield. In fact, Rhinos custodian Francisco Cortes was tested for the first time by Mark Greghorne only in the second quarter.
Neither team forced penalty corners till quarter three. Turner went off on his own from the left up to the goal-line, trying to force defenders into mistakes but had nothing to show for his efforts.
Bharat Chikara got a close look at the Rhinos goal, though his first-timer off a rebound went wide.
Amon Tirkey earned the tie’s first penalty corner in the 55th minute but the Mumbai defence was spot on.
Rhinos forced the second corner a few moves later, and again goalkeeper David Harte stood tall to counter Ross’s drag with a firm block.
Special Correspondent reports from Lucknow
Wizards beat Lancers
Uttar Pradesh Wizards beat Kalinga Lancers 3-1 to register its first home win here on Sunday.
Wizards garnered full five points from their third victory to collect 21 after seven matches. From their sixth outing, Lancers added one point to their aggregate of seven.
Lancers’ defence and midfield showed a lot of cohesion to register 83 per cent of possession in the opening quarter. Ryan Archibald and Aron Zalewski led the control game and Kiel Brown provided solidity at the back.
Lalit Upadhyay and Mandeep Antil worked hard up field, but Lancers lacked teeth. Sander Baart, pushed back for this match, excelled in his new role.
V.R. Raghunath, who experienced a painful hamstring in the initial minutes, came back to shoot home his team’s second penalty corner in the closing seconds of the first quarter.
Wizards got into their rhythm and linkman Pardeep Mor, who was omnipresent on the right flank, played an important role.
In the 33rd minute, Lancers missed a scoring opportunity when Brown’s accurate slap-shot struck teammate Russel Ford’s foot inside the rival circle.
In the third quarter, Teun de Nooijer was in the thick of action as Wizards mounted pressure. Edward Ockenden’s excellent pass resulted in the second goal for Wizards. Ramandeep Singh deflected the ball towards the target and Nikkin Thimmaiah guided it in in the 41st minute.
Lancers finally managed to reduce the margin when its Argentine drag-flicker Gonzalo Peillat shot high in the 59th minute. However, Wizards kept pressing till the end and de Nooijer’s sensational top-of-the-circle strike in the final minute delighted the home camp.
The results: At Mumbai: Ranchi Rhinos 1 (Justin Reid Ross 11) bt Dabur Mumbai Magicians 0.
At Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Wizards 3 (V.R. Raghunath 17, Nikkin Thimmaiah 41, Teun de Nooijer 70) bt Kalinga Lancers 1 (Gonzalo Peillat 59).