Sunday, February 9, 2014

Ranchi Rhinos edge our Mumbai Magicians 1-0

Ranchi Rhinos rode on a first quarter goal by Justin Reid-Ross to beat Dabur Mumbai Magicians by a solitary goal in the 2nd Hero Hockey India League at the Mahindra Hockey Stadium in Mumbai. The Rhinos, thus, consigned Magicians to back-to-back defeats after the latter were handed a 1-4 drubbing by Jaypee Punjab Warriors on Saturday.

It was Rhinos who called the shots from the outset and forced their first penalty corner – South African Justin Reid-Ross fired home a drag-flick much against the wishes of the home crowd.

The Reds were dealt a setback when English playmaker Ashley Jackson trudged off the pitch after picking up an injury. His absence hardly affected Rhinos as they continued to hold sway over the proceedings and led 1-0 at half-time.

The Rhinos were well served by Birendra Lakra who not only excelled in midfield but also moved upfront with aplomb. The Magicians lacked any coordination in midfield and their forwardline seemed to run out of ideas inside the Rhinos’ D’. Bharat Chhikara unleashed a rasping shot but Rhinos’ Spanish goalie Francesco Cortes foiled that attempt in the third quarter. Cortes was again at his best when he nullified a strong effort from Malaysian Faisal Saari.

The match watched by Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi, had the possibilities of Mumbai making a serious fightback in the final quarter, but Rhinos exerted more pressure on their defence, forcing two short corners, but on both occasions Irish shot stopper David Harte brought off two brilliant saves to keep his side in the contest.

The Rhinos soaked up whatever the Magicians threw at them in the closing stages and closed out a 1-0 win to collect full points from the match. The win takes Rhinos to the third spot in the points tally with 23 points from six games. Mumbai Magicians are bottom-placed with 7 points from as many games.

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