Air India U-19 thump Companeroes

The jubilant Air Inida Players celebrating the goal against Companeros

On 23rd November 2015, Mumbai District Football Association (M.D.F.A.) Super Division Group ‘C’ fixture featured Air India under-19 take-on Companeroes at St. Xaveir’s Ground, Parel. Air India u-19 got the better of Companeroes in a 3-0 crushing victory; no. 18 Vinod Kumar Pande scored a brace while, no. 7 Amey Bhatkal scored the second-goal of the match to ease the pressure off from his side’s shoulders.

In the opening five minutes of the match, both sides tried to exploit gaps as they tried to create and convert any half or quarter chance that would fall their way. Companeroes’ first big chance came on 6 minutes, when Gavin D’Souza’s effort passed the right-hand post. The first real opportunity for Air India to pounce upon came in the 22nd minute, but they were denied by a double save from Companeroes’ goalkeeper Oriston D’Souza.

Most part of the first-half saw too many misplaced passes at key moments and in important regions, meaning both sides couldn’t keep a hold in the attacking-third of the field. Amey Bhatkal was presented with an opportunity on 36 minutes, but a timid effort was shot straight into the goalkeeper’s gloves from inside the box. The goal came just 3 minutes, later form a Jay Sahini cross from the right flank straight to the head of no. 18 Vindo Kumar Pande, who guided the ball into the back of the net; and celebrated the goal by kissing his badge in accomplishment.

As the game reached its first-half closure it evident that Air India had slowly, but steadily cemented their control on the game. The half ended on a high-note for Air India, who put-together a hatful of appraise worthy passes as they combined well while, they floated-in a handful of excellent crosses from either flanks.

In the 43rd minute of the match as the first-half reached its climax, the Companeroes goalkeeper had to react again, and an excellent reaction save to tip the ball over the crossbar from an attempted shot by no. 3 Jay Sahini. The second-half of the game was a completely different story. But, there was a moment which perfectly encapsulated the essence of the beautiful game, when Companeroes no. 4 suffered an injury (Groin, supposedly) on the cusp of half-time, and was witnessed being treated by the Air India coach.

The match was surely won by Air India in the 4th minute of the second-half, when their no. 7 leaped-in and converted a half-chance which fell to Amey Bhatkal from a mishit defence clearance high-up in the air for which the goalkeeper jumped to collect, but a quick reaction meant Air India took a giant step on their way to victory.

The game was played in the Companeroes half for 90% of the second 45 minutes of the game. Air India created chances and tried to convert as many chances into goals to boost-up their goal-difference while, Companeroes soaked pressure time and time after, and launched ocassional half-hearted counter-attacks against a high-lined Air India defence. The third goal came in the 60th minute from Vinod Kumar Pande, this time he would score a power shot from a tight angle from the left – inside the 18-yard-box.

The game was a one to forget for the men in yellow, who were bashed by a wave of attacks even after the 3rd goal was scored. Air India dominated proceedings so-much-so that the Companeroes players couldn’t move of their own half as the frustration grew further and further for their coach until the referee blew the full-time whistle.

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