Dutch midfielder Robbert Kemperman scored in the final minute to give Dabang Mumbai their first win as they pipped Uttar Pradesh Wizards 4-3 in a Coal India Hockey India League (HIL) match at the Mahindra Hockey Stadium here on Tuesday.
Mumbai, who had drawn against Ranchi Rays in their opener with a last-ditch goal from Nikkin Thimmaiah, found their winner at the death again when Kemperman guided home a baseline cross from Gurmail singh.
Earlier, UP had taken the 2-0 lead via Augustin Mazzilli's field goal in the 13th minute but Mumbai equalised through twin successful penalty corner conversions from Harmanpreet Singh (24th and 31st).
This win took Mumbai to the second spot with seven points from two matches, while UP are fourth with a point from Tuesday's game. Kalinga Lancers are on top having won two out of two. It was UP's opening match of the tournament and Mumbai's second an both the teams showed that they were yet to gell as a team. With neither of the teams showcasing the coordination and balance as a team, both of them relied on individual brilliance on the field.
UP foudn the 2-0 lead in the 13th minute as Australian attacking midfielder Eddie Ockenden made a brilliant tackle near the halfway line and charged ahead to set up for Argentine Mazzilli, who sent the ball past a diving Mumbai goalkeeper from close range to make it 2-0. In response to the goal, Mumbai showed the desperation but they hardly created any chance from the field play that could threaten UP goalkeeper P. Sreejesh.
But during a raid, Robbert Kemperman couldn't breach UP defence but played to the foot of a rival defender to earn a penalty corner for the hosts in the 24th minute. Harmanpreet drilled the ball into the right corner that Sreejesh & Co could hardly react as Mumbai reduced the goal difference to 1-2. Towards the end of the second quater, UP had the chance to regain their two-goal advantage when Seve Van As played to the foot of a defender to earn a penalty corner but Gonzalo Peillat's flick was wayward.
After the change of ends, Mumbai soon pulled level as Kempermanagain forced a mistake of UP backline, earning a penalty corner which was fired to the left post roof of Sreejesh's goal. Harmanpreet took his tally to three goals with this strike in the 31st minute.
And in their last-ditch efforts, Mumbai tried a penalty corner variation and this time, Sreejesh was up to the task. And in their reply, Ockenden almost assisted another goal, for Akashdeep Singh, whose tap in from the close range at the right post couldn't beat goalkeeper Harte but moved away inches wide from the left post.
However, Harte was beaten in the 59th minte when a sloppy penalty corner flick from Peillat moved towards pusher Ramandeep, who had moved towards the left post after playing the role of the pusher, tapped the ball in.
With only one minute to go, UP had the game in the pocket but a baseline cross from Gurmail from the right caught the UP defence off-guard. The ball found Kemperman's stick at the far post and all the experienced Dutchman did was to guide the ball in, triggering a wild celebration in the home camp.