Mumbai, Jan 31: Young Affan Yousuf scored two goals as Dabang Mumbai defeated Delhi Waveriders 3-2 in a closely-fought round robin match to stay on top of the leaderboard in the fifth edition of Hockey India League, here on Monday (Jan 30).
Affan twin strike strike in the 29th and 30th minute earned his team five points from the encounter and register third straight win on home soil at the Mahindra Hockey Stadium.
The double strike also made Affan the leading goal scorer in the ongoing edition of the tournament.
Playing against the home team, who celebrated an incredible 10-4 win against defending champions Jaypee Punjab Warriors in their previous game, the Waveriders opened the game patiently, rotating the ball between themselves waiting for an opening goal.
Despite several circle penetrations, it took till 12 minutes for the first real chance to materialise as the visitors won the first penalty corner of the game.
The opportunity went wasted though as skipper Rupinder Pal Singh flick was blocked by defender Sander De Wijn. A minute later, Manuel Brunet fashioned a chance out of a fine assist by Mandeep Singh, spinning away from his markers to unleash a shot on the goal but his shot was brilliantly padded away by Dabang Mumbai goalkeeper David Harte.
The second quarter though belonged to Affan who continued his splendid form this season. He pumped two goals past Delhi Waveriders goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch taking his personal tally to seven goals this season and fetched his team the much-needed 3-0 lead.
The first goal was created by Harmanpreet Singh's long ball forward to Affan, who beat Harjeet Singh to find the net in the 29th minute.
Almost immediately, Affan struck again when his team desperately attempted to convert their first penalty corner of the game. The ball came off a rebound when Affan found the gap only seconds before the first half.
The two teams kept up the high tempo of play in the third quarter with Dabang Mumbai dominating possession but were unable to get the breakthrough. Then Justin Reid-Ross earned Delhi Waveriders their first goal when he successfully converted a penalty corner in the 43rd minute to narrow the deficit to 3-1.
There was plenty of action in the fourth and final quarter with both teams pressing hard and fast. The visitors earned another penalty corner and this time Rupinder converting the opportunity successfully to narrow the goal difference to 3-2.
The visitors earned another penalty corner in the 55th minute through Surender Kumar who found Harmanpreet's foot.
But they missed the opportunity as Rupinder once again failed to convert the chance. Dabang Mumbai will take on Kalinga Lancers in their next game here on Tuesday.