Pailan Arrows could hardly play their natural game on a soggy pitch with unrelenting rain against an aerial Mumbai FC at the Keenan Stadium on Friday (September 21). But still they managed to come back twice after falling behind very early in the match to draw 2-2 courtesy goals from D Ganesh and Deepak Devrani. For Mumbai, ND Opara scored a brace.
With this match Arrows move to 2 points from two matches while Mumbai FC muster only 1 from the same number of matches.
Talking about the match, Arrows did not give up after conceding the goal in the opening exchanges of the match. They took the aerial route when passing became virtually impossible and came close to scoring a few as well. Yes they were up against it from the outset as the pitch did not allow them to blossom and play their passing game. But they fought like brave warriors and did not let Mumbai FC have the upper hand at any point of the match except on two occasions. But they made up for it with sheer grit and will to conquer any given situation and circumstance.
Coming to the goals, Opara latched on to a through ball from the defense and then had to deal with only Pailan custodian Soren Porei whose valiant effort felt short to the Nigerian’s cool finish. Just when Mumbai looked to take their lead to half time, Ganesh made his mark on the game by equalizing brilliantly at the stroke of half time. Opara headed home the second goal in the 62nd minute. Arrows came back again in the 78th minute. Substitute Deepak Devrani slotted home comfortably from a Alwyn George corner.
After conceding the early goal, Arthus Papas’s boys characteristically upped the tempo, forcing their opponents to sit deep and defend their fort. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) developmental side braved the harsh underfoot conditions due to continuous drizzle to stick to their style of play and sometimes adopt to long balls as part of acting to the need of the hour. Perhaps this is what Papas meant when he said, “The philosophy remains, it’s about adjusting accordingly.”
Coach Arthur Papas made quite a few changes in the starting XI from the first match against Dempo. Shaiju Mon was rewarded for his good show after coming on a s asecond half substitute in the last match. Prathamesh Maulingkar also found his place in the starting XI along with D Ganesh.