Kenkre succumb to ten men DSK Shivajians

DSK Shivajians wrapped-up maximum points against Kenkre under-18 in their I-League under-18 Zonal Round – Maharashtra game beating them comprehensively by 3 goals to zero; despite playing with 10-men for large quarters of the match after no.23 Jesse Ralte was sent-off in the 32nd minute for “violent conduct”. The win confirmed DSK Shivajians’ safe passage to next-round as they recorded an unbeaten-run of 8 games – winning 6 games and drawing 2 games (both against Pune F.C.) – collecting 20 points in the process.

DSK Shivajians executed their paper-perfect gameplan on the pitch to perfection. The red-card didn’t affect the travelling team, who quickly adapted from going a man down to scoring two-goals in the second-half as their dominance grew. DSK Shivajians remained favourites to extend their unbeaten-run coming-into this match, and rightly justified it with a routine victory under circumstances they didn’t hope to cope.

Although, DSK Shivajians opened the goalscoring and comprehensively won the game it could’ve been a completely different story if Kenkre under-18 no.23 Arfat Ansari converted a glorious chance in the 14th minute, who received a through-ball in space on the right-side inside the 18-yard-box, and in an attempt to squeeze his shot in the bottom-left corner his shot hit the bar and deflected to a safer zone. The home-side didn’t create ample chances, neither did they took their chances with the required seriousness.

The opening goal came from an own-goal scored by K.F.C. through a corner, despite all the attacking pressure from DSK Shivajians – Kenkre under-18s kept the visitors at bay, but only marginally, and once the home-side slipped there was no way back for them even if they looked momentarily solid after the DSK Shivajians went down to 10-men. The K.F.C. wingers largely contributed defensively and never looked to threaten a high DSK Shivajians defensive backline on occasional half counter-attacking chances.

This was a K.F.C. side which was outwitted in every department, although they can argue that they were a victim of their own mistakes. The most important part of the game was pressing and ball retention, which the home-side didn’t bother about, in particular. In the first-half, even when the opposition were down to 10-men and Kenkre under-18 had an opportunity to take proceedings into their hands, they simply let the away-side do the talking, and it looked like it was Kenkre under-18 who never prepared for a situation, where they’d have a man-advance to out-score DSK Shivajians.

The two goals DSK Shivajians would score in the second-half would prove to be a testimony for their overall dominance in the game, and their willingness to win to the other side’s lack of discipline, understanding and coordination. Being an individually better drilled side, DSK Shivajians won more 1v1 chances and attracted more than one K.F.C. player towards the ball, which created space for a spare-man to receive a pass in that space. This meant despite a man down overall, they created more chances as they doubled-up on occasions inside the K.F.C. half.

A second half brace from no.10 Mawinhmingthanga secured the win for the away side in a game which they never faced a serious competitions in their quest of a win. Though, Kenkre F.C. did have a positive to settle with despite an overall weak performance: their initially defensive approach held-out and frustrated DSK Shivajians. They lacked coordination, at times, and miss controlled too many passes whenever they had a chance. And if they are to improve as team, they need to strengthen individually while playing a collective brand of football.

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