Bank of India’s bouncebackability helps them beat Juhu Sparks 3-1 comprehensively

On the 27th of November 2015, Juhu Sparks played Bank of India in the Mumbai District Football Association (M.D.F.A.) Super Division Group ‘A’ fixture at St. Xavier’s Ground, Parel. The match took two sudden twists through its way into the second-half as Bank of India fought their way back to victory coming-back from a goal down to win by 3 goals to 1 against a misfiring Juhu Sparks side.

In the first opportunity of the match fell to Bank of India inside 5 minutes, when Bank of India no. 10 Rahul Nair was presented with a one-on-one opportunity against the Juhu Sparks goalkeeper after he received a perfectly weighted return-ball from the edge of the 18-yard-box. But, Rahul Nair’s effort was stopped by the Juhu Sparks goalkeeper Sneedon D’Souza, and the follow-up was fired-over by Shankar Thakur.

Juhu Sparks, in particular, played compact and narrow during the first-quarter of the match, which created spaces to operate on both wings, and Bank of India didn’t fail to exploit these space, but lacked cutting-edge in the final-third. A similar chance to the aforementioned opportunity in the 26th minute, when Rupesh Meher of Bank of India, who was unmarked – made a clever run from the edge of the penalty-area, which was well spotted by no. 12 Shankar Thakur. But, the former was denied from scoring the opener by another praiseworthy stop by Juhu Sparks goalkeeper Sneedon D’Souza.

Juhu Sparks’ marking while defending was very poor and they left-out too many players unmarked in as-well-as around the penalty-area. On the 9th minute mark, when a free-kick was awarded to Bank of India, Shankar Thankur played a pass to his teammate Rahul Solanki unmarked on the left-flank. The latter collected a simple pass and drifted in a good cross, but the header went off-target.

The goals came late, but quick as the first-half prepared entered its final quarter. On the 31st minute mark, Juhu Spark took the lead through Gerrad Pereira, who slotted the ball calmly to the goalkeeper’s right to give the game a much needed breakthrough.

Bank of India from the point of conceding the goal didn’t look back, and focused its attention on the task in hand to level the scoreline and finish the match as winners. They leveled the scores in the last-minute of the first-half stoppage time via Sanket Rane, who ran past his marker to guide the ball into the right of goal from a corner-kick. Both sides went into the half-time break on different levels of motivation.

The second-half started with what the Bank of India coach would’ve ideally wanted, but didn’t expect. Quite surprisingly, the Juhu Spark goalkeeper was hesitant throughout the second-half of the game, and recorded two errors which led to two Bank of India goals in the second-half. It’s obvious the goalkeeper might have taken a mental knock, first, conceding just before the break, second, concede in the first-minute of the second-half. The goalkeeper, though can be rightly blamed for both the goals Juhu Spark conceding; for the second-Bank of India goal scored by Alvido Gomes, Sneedon D’Souza came out of his line, but failed to create any contact with the ball as the past him, and Alvido Gomes tapped-in the ball into the net on the far post to give Bank of India deserved lead. The 4th goal of the match scored by Bank of India no. 10 Rahul Nair on 58 minutes was rather a clumsy goal to concede. Goalkeeper Sneedon D’Souza was hesitant to come out of his line to clear the ball, first, he came out, but moved a yard back only to move forward and shoot the ball into Rahul Nair. The ball rebounded of Rahul Nair and went straight into the empty net.

The last 30 minutes of the game was a frustrating one-way traffic towards the Bank of India half, and they played on the counter-attack for the last 2 quarters of the match. Whilst Juhu Spark failed to create any sustainable spells, when in possession. They also lacked creativity and incisiveness as the game progressed and demanded more from them than they could offer.

The management of Juhu Sparks was angry of the referee for not awarding them a penalty (at 2-1). But a poor display in marking during set-plays and an inappropriate defensive shape for a relatively slower defensive unit, the problems run deeper than just refereeing decisions going against them. Meanwhile, for Bank of India it was a hard-fought victory and a performance, which can act as a base for the upcoming games.


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