Indian Navy defended the Independence Cup football title by beating Western Railway 1-0 at St Xavier’s ground, Parel yesterday. Navy forward Sabariyar Britto scored the all-important goal in the second half.
It was Western Railway who created more chances and dominated proceedings before
the interval. But Navy’s defenders and goalkeeper Sumesh PS ensured they did not lose the initiative. Sumesh brought about a brilliant save off Lineker Machado in the fifth minute.
Navy showed more intent after the break and were rewarded for their effort when Britto struck eight minutes into the half. He made the most of goalkeeper Grinto Antao’s fumble and scored
Navy were awarded Rs 40,000 for their win, while Western received Rs 25,000. Air India, who finished third, won Rs 15,000.
Navy coach PV Abhilash said it wasn’t an easy final to win. “Both teams played really well. If not for that goal, the result would have been decided via tiebreaker. Western Railway played really well today,” he said.
However, Abhilash hoped that the organisers Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) would provide better facilities to teams in future.
“The tournament should be played at Cooperage and not St Xavier’s ground. The ground is not levelled properly. Also, teams are not given separate changing rooms. I know that renovation work is on, but a tent could be built near the ground.
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