The ninth leg of VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5 commenced at Delhi’s Thyagaraj Sports Complex where home team Dabang Delhi K.C. succumbed to a disappointingly narrow loss to U Mumba (28-30) on Friday. The neck-and-neck tie saw Delhi losing the plot in the last minute due to a defensive lapse, which handed the match to the visitors.

Delhi’s senior defender Bajirao Hodage was present at the post-match press conference and he readily accepted that the defence faltered in the last minute. Delhi have been at the receiving end of many such narrow losses this season, and when asked the reason, Hodage said: “It’s a match and we cannot predict anything. The last five minutes tell us which team will win, and we made mistakes in the last moments, which is why we lost.”

Delhi again missed Nilesh Shinde in action as he was rested due to a ‘muscle injury’. However, Hodage pledged that they “have learned a lot from the mistakes committed” and will surely work on them when they face a solid Puneri Paltan side next on Saturday.

On the other hand, U Mumba coach Bhaskaran Edacherry and captain Anup Kumar looked relieved that the team had come out of the shadow of their last two decisive losses at the hands of Gujarat Fortunegiants. Kumar said: “If the team plays well, then the confidence of the team rises. We won four matches on the trot because of which we were high on confidence before our matches against Gujarat. But we committed the same mistakes continuously in those matches due to which we lost. Today, the match was very close and in such matches if a team plays carefully then that team wins.”

Friday also marked the return of Shabeer Bappu from injury which helped in keeping the morale of the team high, according to Edacherry. The Mumbai team presently is sitting third in Zone A with 44 points and the coach believes that they have a good chance to make it to the playoffs. “We have many matches left to play and we can qualify. The team is getting back its rhythm,” he said.