Efficient Air India put wasteful Western Railways to the sword

Air India were ruthlessly clinical as they brushed aside an imprudent Western Railways outfit 4-1 in the Elite Division of the Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) at Cooperage on Wednesday, 29 April 2015.

The defending Champions rocked the Rail Men early on with a goal from Harold Fernandes in the 2nd minute to set themselves on their way.

But Western Railways did well to recover from such an early blow and sapped the Air India’s early momentum as they started to dictate play post the ten minute mark in the game.

A fine long ball caught the Air India defence napping in the 17th minute, as Charanjeet Singh raced to latch on to it only to fire in the side netting. Two minutes later another clever piece of play this time from Reuben D’Souza opened up the Air India defence, but Linekar Machado’s shot was crucially blocked by an Air India defender.

Air India eventually cracked under growing Western Railways pressure in the 25th minute when Reuben D’Souza who broke free of his marker coolly slotted home past the Air India goalkeeper Debashish Das to get Western Railways a deserved equalizer.

Air India were dealt another blow when Baldeep Singh was forced off due to an injury a minute later. He was replaced by Wayne Vaz.

But it was Air India who once again stole the lead pretty much against the run of play in the 37th minute when Nicholau Borges got a tap in after Nessarulla Khan could only parry a shot in his path. It was unfortunate on the part of the Western Railways goalkeeper who had made few brilliant saves in the build up to the goal.

Despite going down, Western Railways continued to torment the Air India backline as a crisp Western Railways move saw Somi P.T. through on goal in the 39th minute, but he failed to score adding to Western Railways’ goalmouth misery in the first half.

Another chance went begging for the Railmen in the first minute of added time when Somnath Mondal was picked out completely unmarked in the box at the far post from a cross from the right flank. But the Western Railways midfielder bumped his header into the ground as it eventually bounced over the goal.

Air India found themselves miraculously in the lead at half time despite being second fiddle to Western Railways for majority of the half. Western Railways’ impotency in front of goal meant they had to claw their way from behind to take anything from the game.

The job got tougher for Western Railways when Air India nicked a third goal within seconds of the restart as Sagar Chile tapped in an inch perfect cross from Vishnu T. to put Air India in a 3-1 lead.

Western Railways who needed to wipe out a two goal deficit brought on Anil Pawar in place of Avinash D. in the 55th minute hoping to trigger a comeback.

But the third goal rocked the Western Railways’ confidence as Air India began to exploit the gaps in the Western Railways defence. Sagar Chile were nearly finished off a fine move in which substitute Raju did well to control a pass and drill a low cross into the box in the 63rd minute.

Air India got more chances towards the end of the game as Western Railways threw men forward. Sagar Chile failed to score in an empty net which was left vacant by the Western Raiwlays goalkeeper who had charged forward in the 79th minute. It was a difficult chance for Sagar Chile as he had plenty of men in between him and the goal.

Western Railways nearly produced a grand stand finish when they forced a double save off Debashish Das in the 86th minute through Linekar Machado and Somi P.T. who pounced on the rebound from the goalkeeper’s initial save.

But the champions were the ones to have the last laugh as a quick break saw Vishnu T.’s effort come off the crossbar and fall kindly for Mervin Stephen who made no mistake in slotting home Air India’s fourth goal and give them a 4-1 win.

Western Railways were made to rue the missed chances that came there way and lacked efficiency at both ends of the pitch where Air India scored over them and ran out deserved winners.

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