Mumbai: Defending champions Ranchi Rhinos rode on Justin Reid Ross' solitary strike to pip Dabur Mumbai Magicians 1-0 in a tamely contested match in the second edition of the Hero Hockey India League ( HIL) on Sunday.
Ross found the back of the net with a blistering field goal after being fed by Moritz Furste to open the account for the visitors in the 11th minute.
Barring that goal, it was a drab first half as both the teams took time to get their footing in the match and there was not much action.
Both the teams were defensive in their approach and failed to create chances in the first half.
Towards the end of the third quarter, the hosts showed urgency to draw parity but were let down by their ineffective co-ordination in the mid-field.
The defending champions could have shot ahead 14 minutes before the final hooter but the failed to utilise the first penalty corner of the match.
South African Reid Ross' strike was superbly saved by Magicians' goalkeeper David Harte to spare the bottom-placed team some anxious moments.
Harte was again in action seven minutes later to deny the Rhinos a goal when he easily flicked away drag-flicker Ross' strike during the second penalty corner.
Mumbai who had drawn 1-1 in the first leg at Ranchi couldn't replicate the effort on Sunday.
The MK Kaushik-coached side squandered a brilliant opportunity to equalise and eke out a draw in the final minute when Gurjinder Singh failed to convert the penalty corner.
The Mumbai Magicians will next play Delhi Waveriders on February 15, while the Ranchi Rhinos will face Waveriders on February 12.