Door slams shut on Mumbai
- Malaysia Airlines plane may have turned back before vanshing, says Air force chief
- BJP complains to EC against Rahul over RSS remarks, seeks derecognition of Congress
- Subrata Roy arrest row: The not-so-beautiful story
- Vajpayee wanted Modi to quit over Gujarat riots, but party said no: Venkaiah Naidu
- Internal battle in BJP out in open: M M Joshi seeks clarity on Varanasi seat
Lack of ideas to create goal-scoring opportunities is something that you least associate with a team coached by Ric Charlesworth. With his tactical acumen, Charlesworth has made Australia into one of the most feared attacking units in the world. Unfortunately, he couldn't replicate same success with the Mumbai Magicians in the Hockey India League. Each time the team ventured forward, they were like a rabbit caught in the headlights.
Their inability to score a field goal cost them dear once again as they were knocked out of the tournament after losing 0-1 to Uttar Pradesh Wizards (Luke Doerner 33rd minute) at the Mahindra Stadium here on Tuesday. Considering that this was a must-win match for them, one would have expected Mumbai to turn the screws on fellow-strugglers Uttar Pradesh, but it was not to be.
The hosts began on a positive note, conjuring an attack from the pass back that earned them a penalty corner. Sandeep Singh, who was dropped from the national team yet again by India coach Michael Nobbs, would have loved to make a point here. But his feeble attempt did not trouble the goalkeeper. That was the only piece of attacking play that troubled the Wizards.
Mumbai hardly managed to put their opponents in danger for the remaining 69 minutes. They controlled the possession through the course of the match but were clueless in the attacking third on most occasions. Uttar Pradesh, on the other hand, were swift on counters and could have scored two or three goals more had they converted the opportunities, including a penalty stoke which Jeroen Hertzberger missed, that came their way.
That's been Mumbai's story throughout the tournament. In their 11 matches so far, they have scored 20 goals and 16 of them have been from penalty corners. They were the worst-affected team when the Pakistani players were sent back, no doubt. The four players from the neighbouring country formed the crux of their midfield. But those players were replaced with three Australians and a New Zealander. Thus, Charlesworth had seven Australian players in his squad to work with, making coordination that much easier. In Glenn Turner, they have one of the best strikers in the world. However, he did not manage to score even one goal. Faisal Sari, the young Malaysian, impressed with his pace and determination but could not score goals when it mattered. In the end, deficiency in this area cost them dear.