England international Barry Middleton turned out to be the hero for the Ranchi Rays as the league debutants managed to clinch their maiden win of the Hockey India League, beating Dabang Mumbai 2-1 at almost full-capacity Mahindra Hockey Stadium.
Middleton might have turned out to be the star performer but it was a team effort from the Ranchi Rays as they overwhelmed their opponents with circle penetrations and ball possessions.
Apart from Middleton, goalkeeper Francisco Cortes was also one of the standout performers and made some stunning saves. He managed a number of saves in the game, including stopping a couple of drag flicks from Mumbai’s star Tom Boon.
Both teams failed to score in the first two quarters, despite getting a number of chances. The deadlock was finally broken by Boon in the third quarter when he scored in the 38th minute.
Ranchi struck back few second after Boon’s goal, when Middleton, against the run of play, put the visitors on level terms. Middleton scored his second ten minutes later and it was the final goal of the match to help the visiting team clinch all points from the tie.