12 August 2017
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The Eagles were ready to face home team, Gujarat Fortunegiants in their packed stadium, The Arena. After losing the previous game with a small margin, we were ready to settle things. Coach Dr. Ramesh Bhendigiri made four changes to the starting line-up with Ravi Dalal, Rohit Baliyan, Swapnil Shinde and Yatharth Deshwal featuring in it. Meraj Sheykh, Nilesh Shinde and Viraj Landge continued to feature in the line-up. The strategy looked simple as experienced Ravi and Rohit made their way to the team in place of young raiders.
We were off to a perfect start as Meraj picked up a raid point which was followed by a good tackle point. Ravi and Rohit were in the mix of things straightaway as both got one point each. Blows were struck by both teams as the difference of points did not exceed three. It was a low scoring match will the half time with the scoreboard reading 10-10. The team was looking more settled this time around and hungry to prove a point as well.
Meraj started the second half in a dramatic fashion as he scored a Super Raid taking out 4 defenders. Soon after, Gujarat were All-out, thanks to some brilliant team work from the Dabangs. In the 24th minute, we were leading 17-11! The home team made a comeback with taking 4 of the next 5 points. Things remained neck-to-neck till the 36th minute with scores tied at 24-24. But points were hard to come by in the dying stages of the match. Gujarat raided and defended well to increase the difference to 4 points as the match ended 29-25 in their favour.
Positives from the game: Captain Meraj Sheykh contributed with 7 raid points and 8 in total. Ravi Dalal, who made his season debut, got 5 points in total which would be a relief for the team management. Swapnil Shinde was looking confident on the mat as he too contributed with 2 points. We face Zone B’s Tamil Thalaivas on the 17th now.