12th September, Madhya Pradesh: The Maharashtra sub-junior boys proceed to the next round of the Hero Sub Junior Boys National Championship. They defeated Gujarat by 3-1 in their second outing of the tournament.
On 8th September, during their opening encounter, Maharashtra outperformed Daman & Diu. They vanquished their opposition by a colossal 10-0 scoreline.
Yesterday’s victory ensured Maharashtra topping the Group B table and their tickets to the next round.
After the previous encounter, Head Coach Firmin Dsouza stated the problems they overcame. “With a depleted squad due to a couple of our players falling sick, I think we did a good job. This win was very encouraging for us considering the circumstances we are facing.”
Since the beginning of the tournament, there have been concerns related to the playing conditions in Madhya Pradesh. Heavy rainfall has played a spoilsport in most of the matches.
The first half of the match saw minimal action from both ends. Gujarat was defensive on their approach as they needed a point to qualify for the next round. On the other hand, Maharashtra needed to win but failed to open the scoreline at the first half.
During the half time, coach Firmin stated, “We need to keep in mind that the ground conditions are not conducive to play great football. So, what will matter most is going to be the will power of the team to win until the final whistle”
” We need to remember our ultimate destination – The Championship. Even a goalless draw would do for Gujarat. We need to understand the pride and the prestige of wearing this Maharashtra jersey. We must give nothing less than our lives on that field to make sure that we have done justice to the colors we are wearing” was the detailed pep-talk from the coach, Firmin D’Souza, during the break.
However, what followed next on the pitch was commendable. The second half commenced and within five minutes, at 50′, Gujarat broke the deadlock.
Soon when Gujarat rested on their laurels and thought their qualification hopes are nearing, Maharashtra’s reliable forward, Ansari Mohmmad Akib rose to the occasion and equalized within a minute.
Gujarat stood shell-shocked.
Furthermore, the boys came from behind and thwacked their opponents. Maharashtra scored at 57′ and 70′ – courtesy to Vekant Navin and Aryan Mahadeshwar’s strike which led the team to the next round.
They have scored 13 goals from 2 matches and conceded once which already makes Maharashtra a team to keep an eye on.
The boys qualified to the next round alongside Goa from the West Zone qualifiers for the Sub Junior Boys National Championship which was held at Madhya Pradesh from 7th to 12th September.