Kenkre FC 1-2 Central Railways: 5 Talking Points

The ten men of Central Railways fought hard to deny Kenkre FC and pick up all three points in the Elite Division encounter at Cooperage yesterday.

Central Railways showed great discipline to nullify Kenkre’s threat and also make up the numerical disadvantage following Rashid Shaikh’s red card.

Kenkre looked sluggish all throughout the game barring a spell just before half time, which had their goal.

The tale of contrasting halves threw up some interesting talking points. Here are five major talking points from the Kenkre vs Central Railways game

1. Central Railways are developing into a good unit under coach Khanolkar

Central Railways who endured a struggling start to their Elite Division campaign last time around, have begun well after winning two out of their first three games. The two wins have come against oppositions that finished above them last season and that is a testimony to Central Raikways progress this campaign.

A lot of credit goes to their manager R.Khanolkar who has helped the team to turn around difficult situations at half time. Central Railways were under extreme pressure towards the end of the first half after seeing their lead halved and having Rashid Shaikh sent off, until the half time whistle bailed them out. It appeared as if Central Railways won’t be able to hang onto their lead in the second half, but Central Railways came out in the second half regaining their oost composure and did a job on Kenkre FC. The manager Khanolkar did well to settle his players down at the interval and set them up for the second half as the way he did.

There is still a long way to go in the league, but not many would fancy playing against this Central Railways side.

2. Catastrophic defending in the first half cost Kenkre FC the game

After an impressive performance against ONGC in their previous game which saw them hold last year’s runners up to a 1-1 draw, Kenkre came into this game in great shape. Many installed them as the favorites to win this game, but Kenkre hardly got going as their inexperience once again surfaced during a disastrous opening fifteen minutes which ultimately cost them the game.

Kenkre FC defence put no pressure on Ajinkya Nalavade and allowed all the time to put in a decent cross into the box which was headed home by Rashid Shaikh who ventured totally unmarked into the danger area while the Kenkre defence was caught ball watching.

If the first goal was poor enough for Kenkre to concede, the second goal was downright shambolic. Central Railways had a free kick just outside the penalty area and the Kenkre goalkeeper stood right behind his wall which was covering the far side allowing the experienced Sumesh Nair to pass the ball into the near corner as goalkeeper Narender Singh failed to reach the near post in time and Kenkre found themselves 2-0 down within the first fifteen minutes.

3. Another game. Another blunder?

The referees have been under fire all week long after making some high profile errors during this week’s Elite Division matches. The decision to rule a KSA player offside in their clash against ONGC had come under great criticism from the KSA bench, while ONGC coach C. Pinho too criticised the referee’s performance during the game and termed the standard of refereeing in Mumbai ‘very poor’.

There was another moment of controversy when referee Crystal J. sent off Rashid Shaikh for a rash tackle on Kenkre’s Shaun Fernandes. The red card was the third one in as many matches in this week. While the referees got the earlier two right, Rashid Shaikh’s red card was slightly harsh. Referee Crystal J fell for the agony that Shaun Fernandes went through after the tackle, but video evidence suggested that Rashid Shiakh was playing for the ball and there was no malice in the tackle. His foot too wasn’t too high off the ground and the referee should have produced a yellow card instead of a red. Although the referees did deserve plenty of credit to spot Kenkre’s goal, a decision which was unfortunately overshadowed by the harsh sending off.

The sending off left Central Railways struggling, but a lukewarm response from Kenkre FC in the second half meant Central Railways got the three points. But the game continues to suffer thanks to big refereeing mistakes and MDFA and also the Bombay Referees Association (BRA) should devise a way to evaluate the performances of the referees so that a referee improves with time.

4. Rashid Shaikh, the fox in the box for Central Railways

Rahid Shaikh’s red card overshadowed a good forty minutes from the Central Railways striker as he once again displayed his predatory instincts in the box with a typical striker’s goal. Rashid Shaikh has been in fine form this season and has scored three times for the Railways outfit in as many games.

Trailing 1-0 to a rampant G.M. Sports in the season opener Rashid Shaikh was at the right place at the right time to score Central Railways equalising goal before popping up again in the second half as Central Railways completed an unlikely comeback against G.M. Sports to pick up their first win.

Shaikh was one of the few better players for Central Railways on a torrid afternoon against Indian Navy which ended in a 5-0 drubbing, but the veteran striker was back among the goals before being sent off against Kenkre FC. Rashid Shaikh is once again showing his class and Central Railways are profiting from it.

5. All play but no joy for Kenkre’s Arish Sutaria

There were few bright spots in the Kenkre FC ranks as they failed to make their numerical advantage count against Central Railways, going down 2-1. But Kenkre FC’s forward Arish Sutaria was a constant threat upfront for the men in white and his the Central Railways rearguard could rarely pick out his clever runs. Kenkre’s goal came when Sutaria escaped his marker and latched onto a through ball before firing a shot goal wards which was saved by Pradeep Kumar, but unfortunately for the Central Railways custodian he couldn’t do anything about a shot from the rebound which crossed the line.

Despite being a constant menace for the Central Railways defenders, Sutaria let himself down with his finishing as he was terrorized by a determined Central Railways goalkeeper Pradeep Kumar who denied the Kenkre striker on more than one occasion. Sutaria cut a frustrated figure after he missed a great chance to level the scores earl;y in the second half as it was not to be his day.

But Sutaria’s overall play would have encouraged the Kenkre think tank which could well earn him another start ahead of Yash Mhatre in the Kenkre FC strike force.

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