Mumbai revert to type

It was a false dawn after all for the Mumbai Magicians. Their defence, which looked watertight a night before against the Uttar Pradesh Wizards for their first win of the tournament, conceded three soft goals, that in Ric Charlesworth's words, would embarrass even the under-15 players. Delhi went on to lose 3-1 to Punjab Warriors at the Mahindra Stadium on Thursday.

PR Sreejesh, outstanding under the bar in the last match, looked off colour while the tournament's top goal scorer Sandeep Singh failed to convert three penalty corners.

The impressive Dharamvir Singh latched on to a long pass by skipper Jamie Dwyer to give visitors the lead in the eighth minute. Australian Robert Hammond doubled the lead for Punjab after he capitalised on a defensive error. Mumbai staged a brief comeback after Liam de Young pulled one back for them in the 48th minute. However, a moment of brilliance by Dharamvir restored the two-goal cushion for Punjab. The 22-year-old collected the ball in the midfield, spotted youngster Malak Singh making a run inside the Mumbai `D' and made a defence-splitting pass. The Mumbai defenders stood frozen and all Malak had to do was to trap it and put it past a hapless Sreejesh, and he did that with grace. The win has boosted Punjab's chances of qualifying for the semifinals. For Mumbai, the upcoming double-header against fellow strugglers Uttar Pradesh would be crucial. Another defeat would bring a premature end to an uneventful tournament for them.

Army players may be withdrawn

FIVE players from the Army Sports Institute (ASI), including star forward SV Sunil, are likely to be withdrawn from the ongoing Hockey India League (HIL). According to sources, the players are taking part in the tournament without seeking necessary permissions. The Army has ordered an inquiry into the matter and suggested disciplinary action against Sunil, who plays for Punjab Warriors, in particular. Similar action will be taken against other players in the league, if found guilty. Apart from Sunil, Ignace Tirkey (Punjab), PT Rao, Johnny Jasrotia (both Mumbai Magicians) and Renail Singh (Ranchi Rhinos) are the other participating player.

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