Loss in last year’s Final drove me to success, says Pillai’s match-winner Mohammed Ishaq

Failure is the stepping stone to success. The age-old saying was re-lived yet again when Pillai College became third time lucky in their quest for the Mumbai University Inter-Collegiate Football Championship title. Having suffered heart-breaking losses in the two previous Finals in the most painful manner that the penalty shootout is, that group of players which which donned the bright pink colours of Pillai, had a different fire in their bellies.

With an aim to to go one step better, matching their previous years’ results of reaching two consecutive finals was no mean feat for the Panvel outfit, but few knew the bruised and beaten finalists of last year had a potent weapon in their armoury.

Twenty year old Mohammed Ishaq who had shared the moments of agony and heart break with his team-mates led from the front from the very first game. There was no looking back for the Pillai striker whose 16 goals in 5 matches got the resilient Pillai side on the cusp of yet another final.

Facing a strong Khalsa side in the big Final, Pillai had another formidable opponent to tackle but there was something within Ishaq and Co. which made the opponent irrelevant. There was no room to digest further Final setbacks and little hope of the opportunity returning.

In the 36th minute of a cagey contest, Mohammed Ishaq the ace in Pillai’s pack worked his magic again as the forward portrayed his instincts as he made a brilliant diagonal run to pounce on a rebound from the post and put Pillai in front and a huge step closer to the trophy that had eluded them for the last two years.

The rest was history as Pillai’s hunger got them over the line as the hurt gave way to poor bliss which erupted in no less celebratory manner as a champagne would. The latter’s absence didn’t make the celebration any less joyous as the Pillai rejoiced with their gathered supporters who too merited a share of glory.

Recovering from the burst of emotions and catching his breath, Mohammed Ishaq spoke to Football Counter after his 17th goal in 6 matches got Pillai home.

We had to win after two consecutive final losses: Mohammed Ishaq

Ishaq highlighted the team had to win the Championship this season ater losing out on penalties to Rizvi for two straight years and dedicated the win to the management and the fans which supported them so well. “After last year’s defeat we were doubly determined this year. Our fans our management had great faith in us and supported us in every way possible. This win is for them,” said an emotional Mohammed Ishaq.

Mohammed Ishaq lauds his coach and is happy with his personal performance

“My coach has always been supportive. He has trained me to be positive and helped me improve both the technical and mental aspects of my game. A lot of credit for my performance goes to my coach Mangesh Desai, who has made us Champions,” Ishaq Mohammed said after the historic victory.

Mohammed Ishaq never thought he would he would be able to reach such heights but vowed to keep the good work going. “This is quite unbelievable for me. I never thought I would be able to perform so well. But I am happy with what I have done and want to do even better next time,” said the Ishaq who plays for Super Division side Mumbai Warriors.

Coach Mangesh Desai heaps praise on Mohammed Ishaq

Pillai Coach Mangesh Desai was extremely pleased with the progress made by Mohammed Ishaq and called him a player with huge potential. “I think Mohammed Ishaq has been the pick of the players from our side. He has improved leaps and bounds this season and it has been quite amazing what he was able to achieve. I am happy for him and he has a great potential to succeed at the big stage,” claimed Mangesh Desai who master-minded Pillai’s victory in the University Football Championship this season.

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