Two spectacular tackles from Abinesh Nadarajan in the final three minutes of the game saw Puneri Paltan beat U Mumba 36-34 in the Maharashtra Derby. Mohit Goyat and Aslam Inamdar combined for 17 points, while V Ajith Kumar scored 10 raid points for U Mumba. With this win, the Paltan climbed to seventh on the points table and sit just one point behind fourth-placed U Mumba.
Inamdar gave the Paltan a perfect start with a two-point raid, but U Mumba responded with two unanswered points to level scores. Goyat followed his teammate’s lead and picked up two points in his first raid, but U Mumba, yet again, had an emphatic answer, scoring four unanswered points to reduce the Paltan to just three on the mat.
Nadarajan and Shubham took advantage of the situation and Super Tackled Ajith to level the scores. But U Mumba did not let their advantage slip and outscored the Paltan 4-2 to leave them with a solitary man on the mat. Fazel Atrachali took the onus of inflicting an All Out with a well-timed Dash on Vishwas S to help U Mumba take a 13-9 lead.
U Mumba’s four-point lead was soon wiped off, courtesy of a Super Raid from Inamdar and a touch point from Mohit. Ajith picked up the final point of the half to ensure U Mumba go into the break leading 19-18.
U Mumba started the second half brighter and pushed their advantage to three points, courtesy of two raid points from Ajith. But the Paltan conjured a strong response with a 3-0 run that left U Mumba with a solitary man on the mat. Skipper Nitin Tomar emulated his counterpart and Dashed Abhishek Singh off the court to help the Paltan inflict an All Out and take a one-point lead.
The Paltan added four more points to their total post the All Out, with Inamdar, Abinesh, Mohit and Sombir picking a point each, to reduce U Mumba to just three. All-rounder Ajinkya Kapre came to his team’s rescue with a brilliant assist on Rinku’s Super Tackle and a raid point that cut U Mumba’s deficit to two.
Ajith’s 10 raid point of the night and a self-out from Inamdar levelled the scores and left the Paltan with just three men on court. With the team pegged on the backfoot, Nadarajan came to the fore. He Super Tackled Ajith and then left Abhishek immobile with sensational Ankle Hold to help the Paltan put some daylight between themselves and U Mumba on the scoreboard.
Sombir’s strong Block on substitute Shivam ended U Mumba’s hopes of winning the game. They finished the game with a 2-0 run, but it was the Paltan who took home a key win.
Best Raider – Mohit Goyat (9 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Abinesh Nadarajan (6 Tackle Points)
Best Raider – V Ajith Kumar (10 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Rinku (4 Tackle Points)
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