ONGC prevail in a penalty shootout win over solid Companerose

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) needed spot kicks to undo Companerose after a rearguard action saw Companeroes hold the much fancied ONGC to a 0-0 draw after 90 minutes in the final quarter final game at the RCF Sports Club.

It took ONGC ten minutes to get a grip on the game as they started to push Companerose back in their own half and dictated most of the play. ONGC came close to opening the scoring the ONGC center back headed just over from a corner in the 17th minute.

Despite the ONGC dominance, it was Companerose who created the best opening when forward Nikhil Pal tackled an ONGC defender to win the ball in an encouraging position for Companerose, but the forward took too much time to shoot and ONGC defenders were able to get the ball back off him.

The game developed a set pattern as Companerose sat back absorbing all the pressure as ONGC controlled most of the ball possession. Companerose were extremely compact and at times had two lines of defences protecting their goal.

Companerose held their shape very well as ONGC rarely threatened Ankit Sawant’s goal as the referee Tapan Ghosh blew for half time.
Eight minutes into the second half, winger Nitesh Monde drew an error from the full back and crossed from the left flank, but it was neatly intercepted by Companerose’s Vikas Narkar.

ONGC started to pile on the pressure as they won a series of corners around the hour mark, but the mean Companerose defence dealt with the danger. ONGC brought on striker Enock Annan as they searched for the breakthrough. He almost made the difference in the 75th minute when he made space for a shot but fired it straight to the keeper.

A rare opportunity fell the Companerose’s way eleven minutes from time when substitute Arun Patil latches on to a clearance and plays in Fazil Sheikh who shoots just over. A warning sign for ONGC, who had thrown a lot of men forward in search of a winner and were almost found wanting at the back.

Companerose suffered a blow in the 87th minute as their rock solid center half Pratik Patil suffered an ankle injury. He had a fantastic game before the injury and it would have been a huge blow for Companerose to play out the remaining minutes without him. But he recovered and decided to continue.

With the game approaching stoppage time and the penalty shootout around the corner, Companerose made a change in goal as Wren D’Abreo replaced the impressive Ankit Sawant.

Penalties were indeed needed after the referee blew for full time and Companerose had done brilliantly to take the mighty ONGC to penalties.
After a short break, it was time for the nerve wracking spot kicks as it was Companerose who were shooting first. It was the skipper Nixon Rodrigues who stepped up, but his kick was brilliantly saved by the goalkeeper who dived to his right to pull off a great save.

Bitola Prasad was next for ONGC who scored in the bottom left corner to put ONGC in front. The pressure was immense on substitute goalkeeper Wren D’Abreo  who was going to take the second kick for Companerose. He failed to ease the pressure as he blazed his spot kick wide to leave Companerose with an uphill task. Next up was Vivek Kaira for ONGC. His shot in the center of the goal was brilliantly saved by Wren D’Abreo who put out a strong hand to stop the shot, as he instantly redeemed himself and also gave his side a lifeline.

Arun Patil stepped up for Companerose as drew them level as his shot in the bottom left corner had no stopping. But No. 28 Askar put ONGC in front again after a pin point spot kick left Wren D’souza unmoved. Mudassir Ansari leveled it up again for Companerose as he managed to beat the keeper who had dived in the right direction.

Nitesh Monde stepped up for ONGC and converted emphatically as his shot found the top left corner. Umair Sheikh who was the last of the five penalty takers had to score to keep the game alive and he did just that as he sends his kick to the top right corner.

This left ONGC an Enock Annan spot kick away from the semis, as he stepped up and scored an almost perfect penalty which went in of the right post and send ONGC into the semi-finals of the Nadkarni Cup.

It was more of relief than joy for ONGC who avoided an upset at the hands of Companerose who did themselves proud after more than matching ONGC for the ninety minutes.

ONGC play hosts RCF in the first semi-final on 3rd December.

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