Late penalty helps Indian Navy see off RCF

Indian Navy made a successful start to their Elite Division campaign with a gritty 1-0 win over Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers (RCF) in the Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) Elite Division game held at Cooperage on Wednesday, 16th September 2015.

The sailors, who had recently emerged champions in the G.V. Raja All India football tournament in Kerala early this month, were unable to take control over the proceedings and were fortunate to score the lone from a penalty kick through Sunil K. Naik in the 75th minute. Referee Louis Fernandes awarded Navy the penalty when RCF defender Bipin Rawat deliberately fouled a rival attacker inside the penalty area.

Buoyed after their cup win in Kerala, Navy were expected to hit the ground running in the MDFA Elite Division, but a resolute RCF side made it difficult for the Navy side from the start. RCF who are known for their defensive stability got onto their game early and frustrated Navy in the first half.

In the second half, Navy stepped up the momentum in their play and pushed RCF really deep into their own box. But the Chembur outfit resisted the pressure well as Navy struggled to break them down.

But as the game progressed, RCF began to tire against a super fit Navy side who were relentless in their efforts. The pressure eventually forced an error from RCF as Bipin Rawat’s clumsy tackle in the box on a marauding Indian Navy attacker saw the referee award Navy a penalty.

Sunil Naik stepped up and converted from the spot to give Navy the lead with just 15 minutes remaining on the clock. With a number of tired legs in their ranks, RCF found it difficult to suddenly change gears go all out for the equalizer.

Navy did extremely well to control the game in the last few minutes and could have added onto their score as RCF desperately pushed for an equalizer. The equalizer didn’t come for RCF as Indian Navy held on for a their first win of the season.

It was a throroughly professional performance from the Navy men as they showed great powers of patience while breaking down a stiff RCF side.

In the next game in the Elite Division, Union Bank of India go against Karnataka Sporting Association (KSA) at Cooperage on Friday, 18th September 2015.

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