Kollam, Kerala – February 22nd 2012
Maharashtra exhibited sheer brilliance against their opponents in their first game of the QUARTER FINAL leg (GROUP B) in Kollam, Kerala.
Though Maharashtra was scheduled to play the second game of the day, their game was pre poned to be the first by the organisers with prior consent of both teams. Humidity was at its peak with the temperature hovering around 38 degree Celsius but that did not deter the Maharashtra players’ confidence on the field.
A roboust 4-1 win against a strong Jharkhand side saw Maharashtra begin with confidence. Mohd Rafi scored a hat-trick of goals while Pune FC’s F Lalrempuia scored the fourth.
However, Maharashtra went down by a goal very early in the match (8 minutes). This wakeup call made them go all out in search of a victory, with Dodsal FC’s Mohd Rafi being in spectacular form. He missed two sitters during the game and still managed to score a hat trick.
Maharashtra Coach Faruk Ahmad was ecstatic at the victory and all praise for his boys. He said,” The brilliant rapport outside the field showed clearly on field today. In spite of going down by a goal early in the match, we displayed great courage to come from behind and stamp authority. We played good possession football which made it difficult for Jharkhand to create any chances. Mohd Rafi was outstanding and was rightly adjudged the Man of the Match.”
Maharashtra Captain NP Pradeep was elated at the win. He said,” We are happy at the win and look to continue this form throughout the tournament. We have a great coaching team with us ensuring camaraderie between all players and officials.”
Maharashtra play against Goa in their next game on Feb 24th 2013, which is also being pitched as the great Western India derby.