I.C. United march into the final of Division II after a 3-1 win on penalties over Mumbai F.C. U-17

Mumbai F.C. U-17 stumbled to a 3-1 defeat on penalties against Immaculate Conception (I.C.) United in the 2nd Division semifinal at Goans Sports Association ground on the 30th of December 2015.

Mumbai F.C. started to pressurize I.C. United from an attacking front; creating a handful of early half-chances to hold I.C. United on the back-foot, as the latter fancied hitting – a high-positioned three-man back-line – on the counterattack.

I.C. United constantly appeared to have found gaps in the Mumbai F.C. back-three, but failed to exploit them from open play, largely because the player in support found himself stationed in an offside position or a player in possession of the ball failed to win a one versus one situation.

While Mumbai F.C. dumped unsuccessful long-balls into their two front-men after quickly circulating the ball in the midfield area, I.C. United received a number of free-kicks in and around the final-third area due to the inability of the M.F.C. back-three, who failed to effectively defend in a three against two defensive situation, largely due to the fact that they had negligible amount of defensive support from their wing-backs.

For a large proportion of the first-half, I.C. United’s back-line struggled to cope with the quick attacking pair of Mumbai F.C. strikers, but they stood compact and resolute whilst M.F.C.’s long-ball approach.

Around the 28th minute, Mumbai F.C. created a good opportunity from down the right-side, but Kishan Dubey could only see his shot through straight into the goalkeeper’s gloves. Both sides were lacking creativity in the attacking area of the pitch as they man-marked each other in midfield; while creating opportunities down the flanks and through dead-ball situations.

As the half came to a closure, both sides were locked at 0-0 with neither side able to take full advantage of the number of opportunities, which fell at their disposal.

The second-half started-off in similar fashion as like the first-35 minutes of the game. And with the 2nd-half through its 1st quarter, Mumbai F.C., who saw more of the ball as the half progressed – continued to disappoint with their long-ball approach, which lost its effectiveness as the game progressed.

The game reached its boiling-point, when both sides came agonizingly close to scoring the opening goal, first, when I.C. United missed-out on an one-on-one chance and, later, when Mumbai F.C.’s fluffed a potential header opportunity.

With both sides still at 0-0 by the end of normal-time, the match headed into a penalty shootout, which I.C. United comfortably won 3-1. Rakesh Karmaran failed to convert from the spot, which gave I.C. United an edge in the shootout, initially. With both sides converting their second penalty, neither team converted their 3rd and decisive penalty. Abhishek Patil missed the 4th penalty for M.F.C. while I.C. United converted theirs, leaving M.F.C. out of the second division winner’s spot chase as I.C. United somehow carved their way into the finals of this year’s tournament.

Note: Mumbai F.C. has been promoted to the 1st Division of Mumbai District Football Association, but have lost-out on a chance to promote into division 1 as winners.

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