Champions Air India strike late against ONGC to finish unbeaten

Air India left it very late to salvage a 1-1 draw against ONGC in the final game of the Elite Division of the Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) held at Cooperage on Monday, 1st June 2015.

With Air India already, sealing the title, the game had an endof the season feel to it in the opening exchanges. ONGC created the first opening of the game in the 19th minute, when Lalmuanpuia won the ball in midfield and picked out Kailash Patil’s run. The veteran ONGC forward unleashed a powerful volley which sailed just inches over the crossbar.

The chance spurred ONGC on who began to find inroads in the Air India defense and very nearly scored on the half hour mark when a Kailash Patil cross went unattended across the face of the goal.

ONGC finally found a way past Air India in the 37th minute, when Kailash Patil released Paramjeet Singh on the flanks before the lanky forward send in a cross which was missed by an Air India defender, allowing Tarif Ahammed to pounce and put ONGC in the lead.

It was all ONGC as the first half drew to a close and the Oilmen were unfortunate not to have doubled their lead when a sensational overhead kick from Parminder Singh struck the crossbar in the second minute of added time.

Air India started the second half much better than the first, but failed to find an equalizer which prompted Head Coach Godfrey Pereira to bring on Sagar Chile in place of Neil Gaikwad in the 59th minute.

The change had an positive impact on Air India’s play as they started to play with a high tempo, forcing ONGC deep into their own half. But the Oilmen had answers to everything that the Champions threw at them.

Subtitute Sagar Chile missed a good chance to get his team on level terms in the 80th minute, when fellow substitute Ashkar CV did well to slide in Mervin Stephen on the left wing before the he brilliantly picked out Sagar Chile in the box only to see him head wide of the target.

But Air India were not in the mood to concede their unbeaten run and equalized in the fourth minute of added time to break ONGC hearts.

The goal meant Air India went the entire season unbeaten as they were crowned the Elite Division Champions for the second time in succession.

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