Flawless Kenkre FC put PIFA Colaba to the sword to finish on a high

Kenkre FC produced a near perfect performance in their final game of the U-18 I-League this season as they swept aside PIFA Colaba 3-0 at the All Saints High School Football Turf in Bhiwandi on Sunday afternoon. The win however wasn’t enough to get Kenkre through to the next round, but ensured Kenkre FC finished in the 4th pace in the group, just one point behind Mumbai FC in third and six ahead of PIFA Colaba in the fifth spot.

It was a dominant display from Kenkre from minute one as they wasted no time in seizing the control of the game. The visitors were dictating much of the play, forcing the home side to sit back and be content with containing Kenkre who were playing with plenty of vigor.

Kenkre’s Athang Kanekar and Shunthan Pheiray were running riot down Kenkre’s right hand side in the opening exchanges with the latter often overlapping from the full back poition to cause the PIFA defenders plenty of problems. However despite failing to get hold of the ball, PIFA maintained their shape pretty well in the first thirty minutes and had a chance of their own in the 18th minute when a determined Vibhav Nair chased down a back pass to create confusion between the Kenkre last man and the goalkeeper allowing Nair to get a toe poked effort on goal which went just wide of the target.

Kenkre though were relentless in attac and didn’t get frustrated by PIFA’s resistance. Midfielder Brent Fernandes started to get plenty of joy in the final fifteen minutes of the first half as PIFA failed to pick him up as he sat in the pockets of spaces behind the midfield. Brent combined brilliantly with Siddharth Colaco in the 37th minute, to set him clear on goal, only for Colaco to somehow fire it wide of the target.

But Kenkre weren’t to be denied any further as Brent Fernandes turned after receiving a pass from the left flank to send a curling effort at PIFA’s goal which escaped the clutches of PIFA goalkeeper Sadan Ummatia as the visitors got a deserved lead in the 39th minute of the game.

Kenkre who had their tails up stepped up the intensity and were rewarded with a second goal thanks to some magical bit of play from Siddharth Colaco who got past three PIFA Colaba defenders to slot home coolly in the 43rd minute. Colaco more than made up for his miss early on in the first half and had Kenkre firmly in the driver’s seat at the interval.

It was one-way traffic again in the second half as a grilling half time team talk from PIFA Sports  Owner and Coach Nirvan Shah did lift the intensity of his players, but their confidence seemed pretty much drained after the first half mauling. Kenkre had plenty of chances as Kenkre’s S. Rao failed to head home a splendid cross from Athang Kanekar in the early stages of the second half.

Shubham Mane’s long range drive also needed dealing with as PIFA’s custodian Sadaan Ummatia tipped it over. Ummatia who faced plenty of criticism from Coach Nirvan Shah at half time responded well in the second half and looked much more in the groove as he thwarted several Kenkre attempts to keep the scoring down.

However after a gritty display from PIFA in the second half, they conceded a really sloppy third goal as Shimyu Kumar tapped in a low corner from Shunthan Pheiray after being allowed to make run at the near post completely unmarked. Despite having a healthy 3-0 lead, Coach Akhil Kothari urged his side to keep up the intensity and his side responded to their coach’s instructions and chased a fourth goal till pretty much the final whistle.

Head Coach Akhil Kothari was delighted with his side’s performance and was glad that everything clicked for his team on the day. “This was the most comprehensive performance we have had this season. Even those players who weren’t performing at the expected level played superbly well today. We just showed what we are capable of and hopefully this team can get better in the next season,” Kothari told Football Counter after his side’s resounding win on Sunday.

Kenkre will be able to carry forward almost the entire team next season, with everyone falling under the age bracket and this year’s experience would make them a real force to reckon with in the next season’s U-18 I-League

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