Before the semifinal, a final for Mumbai, UP

Much before the tournament began, Mumbai coach Ric Charlesworth knew his team wouldn't enjoy a smooth ride. But little would he have imagined that so many potholes would litter their journey.

When they face UP Wizards in their penultimate Hockey India League group match on Tuesday, Mumbai's equation is simple -- a defeat will end their title hopes.

With 14 points from 10 matches, Mumbai trail fourth-placed UP by eight points. Ten points are up for grabs in the last two rounds and Mumbai need all of them. Even then, their fate will be decided by UP, who, irrespective of Tuesday's result, will go through if they beat Delhi.

Mumbai's only victory so far came against UP at home a week ago. That win had raised hope of a revival, but UP struck back in the return leg at Lucknow, leaving Tuesday's hosts in a must-win situation. Mumbai will once again bank on drag-flicker Sandeep Singh, the tournament's top scorer, who scored twice against UP last week. But their fickle defence is a concern. UP will go all-out, aiming to seal their qualification before they meet high-flying Delhi.

Ranchi beats Punjab

JALANDHAR: Justin Reid Ross struck twice as Ranchi Rhinos came back from a two-goal deficit to down Punjab Warriors 3-2. Australian duo of Kieren Govers and Christopher Ciriello gave the lead to hosts. Mandeep Singh levelled for Ranchi, who hold the second place. (PTI)

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