Controversy Strikes as the match between Dena Bank and Soccer XI Concludes Midway

On Thursday 5th November 2015, MDFA Group B’s fixture played-out at the St. Xavier’s Ground, Mumbai between Dena Bank and Soccer XI saw the game concluded on the 69th minute mark when Dena Bank lead Soccer XI by three goal to one due to bad light.

The game started-off brightly for Soccer XI, who opened the scoring on the 20th minute mark from a powerful header by center back Chandramohan Nair. In a game, Soccer XI always played as second favourites for the win, they lost a key player very early in the first-half, when number 12 Shanson Paul went-off injured, which meant Soccer XI would play the remainder of the first-half a man down and lead to protect.

The Soccer XI had to field 8 players in defence in order to soak the pressure with their number 11 Slade Stanley playing upfront as the lone striker, trying to create any half-chance present to him by a defensive clearance or hopelessly hit long-ball. The striker struggled to help his team, struggling to press the Dena Bank defence.

The pressure from Dena Bank’s coach from the touchline and the repeated efforts from players on the field resulted in a deserved equalizer for Dena Bank when number 7 Johnson Prakash scored in the 4th minute of first-half added time. His free-kick took a slight, but enough big a deflection to root Soccer XI goalkeeper Affan Jalal to the spot as the ball went past his right and inside the goal.

There was a heated discussion between the Soccer XI goal-scorer Chandramohan and the Assistant Referee Joseph Pereira as the officials didn’t allow Shanson to participate in the game even after he recovered from his injury. The second-half started at a good pitch, when Dena Bank came close to taking the lead twice inside two minutes, but failed to convert their chances, hitting the crossbar on one occasion.

Dena Bank kept good possession of the ball and created enough half and quarter chances throughout the game to take a healthy two goal lead as the game went into the later stages. Soccer XI worked hard in defence to close down spaces, but couldn’t do much with the ball, failing to maintain possession for longer periods. The lead was provided by number 12 Al Umair Ansari on the 57th minute mark, who guiding the ball past Affan Jalal in a one-on-situation, maintaining his cucumber-esque coolness in front of goal. The standout performer in the Dena Bank jersey was their number 10 Sharjil Ansari whose strike on 67 minutes gave Dena Bank a much deserved two goal lead.

Just two minutes later i.e. on the 69th minute mark (18:04 local time) the game was concluded due to bad light. The referee mentioned in his report that “due to the aggression of both the teams it was dangerous to continue”. This is the second-time that a game was called-off due to bad light or lack of natural light to continue the game. (Previously: Income Tax versus Young Boys). The committee’s lack of responsibility to provide effective feedbacks and act on overcoming such obstacles highlights the lack of commitment at the very top-level of management in the Mumbai District Football Association. The coaches were complacent about this and clearly showed their frustration after the game was concluded. The authorities blamed the sports event which was delayed by an hour while concluding, and thus the last-game had to be called-off. For clubs who pay their tournament fees on time and gather at the venue before the mentioned time, is it fair for the to “play the remaining few minutes on some other day”? Is this treatment worth training and playing for? Well, if not for the love of the game, the teams wouldn’t even turn-up for the competition: a point put-forward by the Soccer XI goalkeeper Affan Jalal.

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