Mubarak Hunters and Xaviers Boys came on top in penalties.

MDFA 3rd division play-offs started on a high note as both the matches were decided on penalties. In the first encounter, Mubarak Hunters defeated Rudra Football Academy 4-3 on penalties after the two teams failed to score any goals in normal time. The second match was played between Xaviers Boys and Geostanne United; it was quite a reminiscence of first play-off. The match ended 0-0 after normal time; Xavier Boys came on top in penalty shootout where they edged the boys in yellow 7-6 after some nervy penalties from both the outfits.

Rudra Football Academy dominated Mubarak Hunters for the whole match but failed to capitalize their chances in both the half’s. RFA’s Captain Xavier D’Souza was the man to watch as he got directly involved in handful of vital plays. Both the teams defence gave a top notch performance as they stood compact for the whole match, keeping attackers of RFA and Mubarak Hunters at bay.

A huge turnaround occurred during penalty shootout, with Xavier D’Souza, Adil Shaikh and Abhir Kadeekar successfully converting their spot kicks; Rudra Football Academy was 3-1 ahead but things went crumbling down as the next three penalties of Karan Singh, Jason Billing and Kartik Karmaran were saved, leaving the score at 3-3 with the next penalty to decide the match. Tanuj Desai of Mubarak Hunter stepped up and comfortably sends the keeper in wrong way and unlikely gave Mubarak Hunters a 4-3 win against Rudra Football Academy in MDFA 3rd division play-offs.

Into the second match, played between Xaviers Boys and Geostanne United, the match had its ups and down but without a doubt the atmosphere was much more intense than the first encounter. Both the team played on counters for the whole match but with their compact back four and incredible goalkeeping from both, Prakash Rao (Geostanne United) and Prasad More (Xaviers Boys) the score stayed still.

In second half, Geostanne United almost scored when a pin point ball from Allugn Dung Dung found Nikhil Jadhav whose shot beat the goalkeeper but just went wide. In reply to Geostanne United, even Xaviers Boys came close to score when Akshay Thakkar dribbled the ball and went past two Geostanne defenders with some superb skills but only to shot over the bar where he could have scored easily.

Just like first encounter, the match went into penalties. Geostanne United had an early advantage when Xaviers Boys midfielder Kiran Saigonkar’s spot kick was saved by Prakash Rao. Geostanne’s Hyeinth Fernandes, Malcolm Fernandes, Godfrey Joseph and Saurabh Ghamre all converted their spot kicks making the score 4-3 in favour of Geostanne United. It was all down to Jayesh Pawar (Geostanne United) as he had the chance to win it for the boys in yellow but his shot sailed over the bar. The match was down to sudden death.

Any miss from either teams can proved costly now. Yash Chettiar (Xaviers Boys), Allugn Dung Dung (Geostanne United), Ajit Shinde (Xaviers Boys), Prakash Rao (Geostanne United) and Prasad More (Xaviers Boys) successfully converted the following penalties. One definetly had to miss and it was Akash Khaire of Geostanne United who missed his spot kick, now advantage Xaviers Boys, Shubham Dhamle missed his penalty which could have won it for Xaviers Boys but the very next penalty by Geostanne United’s Pranit Salvi was also saved which gave Xaviers Boys yet another chance to win the match and this time they did. Bonnie D’Souza sends the keeper in wrong way and wins it for Xaviers Boys who made a remarkable comeback in penalty shootout.

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