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Mandeep nets winning goal

Ranchi: Mumbai Magicians’ chances of making it to the top four of the Hero Hockey India League suffered another blow on Monday as they went down 1-2 to Ranchi Rhinos in an away game at the Astroturf Stadium here.

Goals from Ashley Jackson and Mandeep Singh were good enough to put Rhinos, who now have 27 points, on level terms with Delhi Waveriders. Magicians lost their seventh straight game, with a Sandeep Singh goal proving to be futile.

Magicians, guilty of conceding an early goal quite often in this tournament so far, got off to the best possible start. They earned a penalty corner in the first minute, and Sandeep made no mistake with his drag flick.

The ace drag flicker scored his 10th goal of the tournament, making his position as the league’s top scorer even stronger.

A goal down, Ranchi Rhinos went on the offensive. But they were unable to find an equaliser soon. The visitors earned their second penalty corner in the 10th minute, but with Sandeep on the bench, they failed to capitalise.

Rhinos earned three successive penalty corners between the 14th and the 16th minute, but were unable to find the net.

Two minutes later, Rhinos earned their fourth penalty corner, and Jackson was unlucky to miss out, as his strike beat the Magicians goalkeeper but hit the right post.

Rhinos kept looking for the equaliser in the second half, and it eventually came in the 28th minute, of the hosts’ sixth penalty corner. Mandeep showed some superb skills to earn the penalty corners and this time Jackson went over Sreejesh, and his strike got a touch from the goalkeeper before entering the net.

Rhinos delivered a blow to the visitors when Mandeep’s last touch off Manpreet found the net in the 49th minute.

Meanwhile, the winner of the HIL will get a whopping Rs 2.5 crore as prize money along with a glittering trophy.