Mumbai FC U20 scored a difficult 2-0 victory over Air India U20 in their third game to go on top of Group C momentarily but cemented their top two qualification place for the next phase of the I-League U20.
Cloudy skies cleared for a bright and sunny afternoon as the referee whistled the start of the game. Both teams were unable to string together a concrete attack as a midfield melee ensued. In the third minute Jayesh Rane’s solo run was blocked by the Air India defence. He was clearly the man to mark for the Airmen as another dangerous run was sandwich tackled by alert Air India defenders. The resulting free kick was wasted by Rane as it flew wide.
MFC’s Chetan tandel was surviving dangerously as he got the game’s first yellow card in the 14th minute for his rash challenge on AI’s Prakash Khati.
The Air India Goalkeeper Vikram Singh was up for the task in the 29th minute as he pushed away a shot from MFC no.26 Pravin Sharma over the cross bar. Although MFC was looking more decisive in their play they made their first substitution in the 33rd minute with when Sagar Khanvilkar (no.10) came in for Pravin Sharma (no.26). Air India soon followed with their first substitution taking out Siddharth Nayak (no.8) for Harold Fernandes (no.14).
The AI custodian brought to the table his best skills in the 42nd minute as he made a triple save to thwart the constant pressure being subjected on the AI goal. The first half ended into a goal less affair.
The second half began with AI showing more intent and wrestling control of the game. They began to pressurise the MFC defense and for the first twenty minutes most of the game took place in the Mumbai FC half. Rash challenges from both sides made the game look ominous as some cards were clearly in the pipeline. Air India looked more intent as they held more of the possession and clearly were capitalising on their physical style of play.
The game was heading towards a goalless draw when suddenly in the 86th minute MFC’s Sagar Khanvilkar lit up the football ground with his brilliant finish completely against the run of play. He cut the last defender and the rounded off the AI Goalkeeper to finish cleanly in a goal reminiscent of Fernando Torres’ goal against Barcelona yesterday.
AI still had a bulk of the possession but were simply unable to convert. Jayesh Rane has been the man in form for MFC and he just put the icing on the cake. In the 92nd minute and a repeat of the first goal, he rounded off the Goalkeeper to smoothly finish like a cool cat.
Mumbai FC has won all three games to go on top momentarily but have ensured that they will eventually end in the top two. Air India are on three points and would be hoping that Pune FC would drop points against Chirag Kerala. AI face HAL in their last game on Friday. The other game would be Mumbai FC against HAL
Mumbai FC 2 – 0 Air India
Goals: Sagar Khanvilkar (86’), Jayesh Rane (92’)
Chetan Tandel – 14’
Muzafar Ali – 55’
Rajesh Tare – 75’
Prakash Sonawane – 51’
Harold Fernandes – 73’