10 Man Customs Earn A Point Against Air India

A spirited Mumbai Customs team earned a point against defending league champions Air India with a 1-1 draw in a MDFA Elite Division League match played at the Cooperage on Monday 10th Nov 2014.

Mumbai Customs, seemingly one of the in form sides in the division, made a fearless start, not giving Air India enough freedom to operate. It was a very cagey opening with the game being won and lost in the midfield in the early minutes.

The Airmen then decided to up the tempo a bit with Siddharth Nayak and Vijith Shetty doing a lot of running and supplying their strikers with some very good balls.

Air India came close at the half hour mark when Wayne Vaz putted a long ball from the defence to Neil Gaikwad on the right flank, he chased the ball and did well to play a cross to the top of the box for Jonychand Singh, whose feeble effort fell straight in the hands of Lihaz Koya but Jonychand wasn’t to be denied on his second attempt, as a few minutes later, Sagar Chile managed to hold off two Customs defenders to cut the ball back across towards Jonychand from the left, who unleashed a cracker to right of a hapless Koya in the Customs goal to hand Air India a vital goal, going into the break.

Mumbai Customs tried to get their act together in the second half but it was the the Airmen again who dominated the early stages of the 2nd half.

Air India had a penalty claim waved off by referee Firoz Ali in the 47th minute, when Siddhart made in roads towards the goal, playing a one two with Jonychand, as he moved inside the box Lihaz Koya misjudged his timing to meet the ball only to take Siddhart off his feet. Customs were very lucky to get away with the decision in their favour as the referee handed out a yellow card to Siddhart for simulation.

The game got evenly balanced with both teams attacking the opponents goal at regular intervals, Sagar Chile headed wide from a good cross from the right for Air India and Deepak Irmali came close to scoring for Customs in the 57th minute after he did brilliantly to control a long ball played in by Mathais Coutinho, and made his way towards goal beating the right back on pace but his shot was well saved by keeper Rahul Chanda.

A tactical move by coach Conrad Pereira saw Francisco Salin taking to the field in the 60th minute. The move paid dividends as Mumbai Customs began to play with a new found confidence, as he made some penetrating runs from wide positions, opening up the play for his team. One such move proved effective in the 67th minute, when a ball by Praneel Mendon was met by Francisco on the right, who got past the Air India left back and beat him to play a square ball towards Mathais Coutinho in the box. Mathais, on spotting the on rushing keeper laid the ball off unselfishly for Deepak Irmali, who powered home with a left footed shot.

Knowing they had a chance to snatch a point from the defending champions, Mumbai Customs began over committing with some reckless tackles and they were made to pay when they had Nafeez C sent off in the 75th minute for an unfair challenge, as he earned his 2nd yellow card of the game.

Customs had to see of the last 20 mins of the game being a man down and Air India took every opportunity of this advantage but failed to capitalize on their chances. Baldeep Singh went close after a lung bursting run down the right flank making his way inside the box, he took a rasping shot that unfortunately came off the post.

Anees CK squandered a golden chance after the hard working Jonychand played in a beautiful cross that Anees controlled well but fired his shot wide of the goal. Customs rallied for the last few minutes with some very good defending to hold Air India to a 1-1 draw.

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