New Delhi: Mumbai Garuda remained unbeaten in the league stage with a 4-3 victory over Haryana Hammers in their last round robin match to top the table in the Pro Wrestling League here on Thursday.
Mumbai Garuda rode on brilliant performances by captain Adeline Gray, Giorgi Sakandelidze and Ritu Phogat besides others to win their fifth match in as many outings and maintain their unbeaten record in the tournament. Mumbai Garuda took an early 1-0 lead as Rahul Aware bagged the opening bout 7-2 over Nitin Kumar of Haryana Hammers in men's 57kg.
Having taken a slight 1-0 lead in the first round, Aware managed to earn six more points in the second round to post an easy win. In the absence of Yogeshwar Dutt, who got injured just before the match today, Oksana Herhel captained the Haryana side and led from the front with a 4-2 win over Mumbai's Sakshi Malik in women's 58kg.
The World Championship gold medallist ended round one with a 4-0 lead but in the second round she failed to bag any more points. Sakshi, on the other hand, gained two points in the second mainly due to the two cautions issued to Oksana.
In the end, the costliest buy of the tournament, Oksana managed to maintain a slender edge and helped her team tie the scores 1-1. In men's 74kg, Livan Lopez Azcuy then gave Haryana Hammers an upper hand with an 11-0 win by technical superiority over Pardeep of Mumbai Garuda. Azcuy earned four points at a go by putting down his rival on the mat from a standing position to lead 4-0 after the opening round.
In the next round also, the wrestler from Cuba once more gained four consecutive points by downing the Indian in a similar fashion. Azcuy bagged another three points to finish off the bout in just four minutes and 48 seconds.
However, the scores were yet again tied 2-2 with Mumbai's icon player and captain Adeline Gray winning her bout 7-1 against Geetika Jakhar of Haryana Hammers in women's 69kg.
Adeline, a world Championship gold medallist in 2012, 2014 and 2015, led 3-0 at the break and then won four successive points in the next round to get the better of the Indian, who, on her part, gave a tough fight to her higher ranked opponent and also bagged a point in the process.
Mumbai Garuda's Giorgi Sakandelidze then expectedly gave Mumbai a 3-2 lead by registering a 10-0 win by technical superiority over Hitender of Haryana in men's 125kg. The Georgia wrestler proved to be too strong for Hitender as he finished off the bout in just two minutes and 49 seconds.
Trailing 2-3, Haryana Hammers needed to win the next bout and keep their chances alive, but Ritu Phogat of Mumbai Garuda did enough to eke out a 5-4 win over Nirmal Devi in women's 48kg. In a closely-fought contest, both wrestlers showed their skills to earn the points.
The crowd was thoroughly entertained as the bout swung from one end to another but in the end, Ritu kept her nerves to pull off a superb victory for Mumbai.
The last bout was an inconsequential one between Haryana's Valerii and Mumbai's Odikadze Elizbar in men's 97kg category, and it was the former grappler who won it 2-1 to reduce the margin of defeat for his team.