New Delhi: Mumbai Magicians' skipper Sandeep Singh missed a penalty stroke in the 69th minute to gift Delhi Waveriders their second 2-1 win on the trot here at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Wednesday, after they beat Punjab Warriors with an identical margin in the opening game of the Hockey India League (HIL).
Sandeep's attempt to equalise hit the crossbar but the Mumbai captain contested the decision believing that the ball hit the inside of the crossbar. However, the umpires refused to review their decision. A minute later, Delhi players, led by Sardar Singh, were seen celebrating their win.
Without four of their Pakistan players, who returned home after a clamour surrounding their participation in the HIL, Mumbai were no match for Delhi on the field. Three of the four Pakistan players Mumbai don't have now were midfielders and their lack of coordination clearly showed they were missing quality playmakers in their campaign opener.
Mumbai could hardly manage to string meaningful attacks and relied on Sandeep to strike on penalty corners (PC) but the hero of India's Olympics qualifiers last year not only disappointed on the short corners but also missed a stroke.
Delhi on the other hand were lucky to come out winners, especially after the number of chances they missed. Goal-scorer Lloyd Norris Jones and striker Yuvraj Walmiki missed clear chances in front of the goal mouth, which could have earned Delhi a healthier win.
Both the teams earned five PCs but converted just one each showing the poor conversion rate. Delhi defender Rupinderpal Singh scored off just one PC in the 27th minute. Jones then made up for his poor misses in the first quarter to score a field goal in the 48th minute.
Punjab's only goal was scored by Sandeep, also off a PC, in the 50th minute. The star drag-flicker, though, missed on four other occasions, other than the stroke that could have drawn the game for Mumbai.
"It was plain bad luck that we missed the penalty stroke. We played well in the second half and will take the positives into the next game," Sandeep said after the match.