Clinical ONGC punish wasteful Mumbai Customs

Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) dished out a professional performance to brush aside Mumbai Customs 2-0 who seemed to be lacking in match sharpness in an Elite Division game of the Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) at Cooperage on 30th March 2015.

ONGC came into this game on the back of a four game winning streak and hadn’t lost a game all season. Mumbai Customs were in action after a long gap and had been a surprise package of the season after a good run of results at the start of the campaign.

The start of the game wasn’t the most pleasant one for ONGC Steven Fernandes suffered a head injury after he came out worse from a clash of heads with Mumbai Customs’ Raj Shere. Steven had to be substituted with Joel Sequeira in the 8th minute.

The injury and the resultant change unsettled ONGC to a certain extent allowing Mumbai Customs to get their free flowing game going. Customs moved the ball around really well as the ONGC players had to work hard to nick the ball off them.

But it was ONGC who came closest to opening the scoring in the 21st minute through a Custom head as Gilroy Arahana’s attempted clearance from a corner nearly sneaked in under the crossbar.

However, ONGC did not have to wait too long to take the lead as Karan Atwal’s long ball caught the Customs defence flat footed allowing the ONGC skipper Kailash Patil to latch on to it and send a looping shot over Lihaz Koya who was slightly off his line into the net on 23 minutes. It was a brilliant finish from the ONGC striker to put his side in the driver’s seat after a shaky start to the game.

But just a minute later, Mumbai Customs very nearly made the perfect response as Ashrafali Makandar’s effort came off the left hand side post before Custom failed to capitalize on the rebound.

There was a sudden spring in the steps of the Customs’ forward line as Praneel Mendon released Francisco Salin on goal after piece of intricate play between the two. But Francisco Salin failed to come up with the right finish as he fired his shot straight to the ONGC goalkeeper Bilifang Narzari in the 25th minute.

The game burst into life post the twentieth minute mark as both sides created openings after openings but Kailash Patil’s cool finish was the difference between the two sides.

Customs’ Jinti Jose was inches away from pulling Mumbai Customs level with a fine free kick which sailed just wide of the left hand side post in the 39th minute.

There was a huge controversy in first half stoppage time when ONGC took a quick free kick which resulted in Kailash Patil putting the ball in the back of the net as referee awarded the goal to ONGC, only to change his decision after consultation with the linesman and the fourth official. The decision sparked protests from the ONGC camp but this time the referee stood firm and stuck to his decision.

In the end it was a correct decision by the referee as ONGC had started the play before the referee’s whistle.
So ONGC remained just a goal to the good at half time after a half which was decided by Kailash Patil’s superior finishing skills.

Mumbai Customs had a great chance to equalize with just seconds played in the second half as Ashrafali Makandar who was totally unmarked in the box headed wide from a cross with the goal and the goalkeeper at his mercy. It was a huge let off for ONGC whose defence had completely switched off.

Ashrafali Makandar was then substituted in the 58th minute as Deepak Irmali replaced him as Mumbai Customs continued their pursuit of an equalizing goal.

ONGC were denied a second goal in the 72nd minute when Parwinder Singh’s header was cleared off the line after some last ditch defending by the Customs rearguard.

Ten minutes later, Mumbai Customs’ Sagar Bedekar profited from a loose clearance from an ONGC defender but he failed to keep his attempt on target.

ONGC finally put the game to bed when Tarif Hammad scored with his first touch after coming off the bench as he pounced on the rebound after Parwinder Singh’s bullet header from a corner was cleared off the line in the 83rd minute to put ONGC 2-0 up.

ONGC could have added to the lead when Parwinder Singh failed to finish after being in a one on one situation with the goalkeeper in the first minute of stoppage time.

The referee’s whistle for full time meant ONGC registered their fifth successive win in the MDFA Elite Division as Mumbai Customs return to playing top flight action after a long gap started with a defeat.

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