Pranav Kale bags four as Pune thrash Nashik to make the Final

Mumbai and Pune made it to the Final of the Maharashtra Inter District Football Championship for Sub-Junior Boys with comfortable wins in the semi-finals held on Tuesday morning at the Sports Complex Ground in Nashik. Mumbai eased past nine men Nagpur 3-0 while Pune crushed hosts Nashik 7-0 to enter the Final on Wednesday. Pranav Kale scored four goals helping his team reach the showpiece Final.

Rachit Singh opened the scoring for Pune in the 5th minute before two quick fire goals from Pranav Kale and Chaitanya Advani just before the twenty minute mark put Pune firmly in charge with a 3-0 lead which Pune held into the interval.

Nashik who came from 2-0 down in the Quarter Final weren’t allowed to repeat their heroics as Pune killed the game with a fourth goal in the 45th minute from Pranav Kale. It got better for Pune fifteen minutes later when Chitanya Advani bagged his second of the game to put Pune 5-0 up. Later it was the Pranav Kale show as the striker scored two more goals in the 62nd and 74th minute to make it a final score of 7-0 in Pune’s favour.

Mumbai made a strong start against Nagpur and were rewarded in the 10th minute, when Ridge D’Mello latched on to a lofted pass from midfield to lob the shot over the Nagpur goalkeeper and into the goal to hand Mumbai an early lead.

Nagpur passed up a great opportunity to level the scores when they missed a penalty midway through the second half. Mumbai eventually punished Nagpur for their miss from the spot as Ridge D’Mello beat the offside trap to round the goalkeeper and brilliantly squeeze a shot from a tight angle into the side netting in the 33rd minute. Mumbai’s task became easier when Nagpur’s Furqan Raza received his marching orders after a second bookable offence.

Mumbai went into the break with a firm grip on the game and the grip tightened three minutes into the second half when the rampant Ridge D’Mello popped up once again to complete a stunning hat-trick.

Nagpur coach couldn’t control his frustration and launched a verbal attack on the referee after a series of disagreements with referee Sunil Powar’s decisions. The coach’s frustrations unfortunately transferred to the players and the Nagpur players resorted to highly unsporting physical play which left many Mumbai players injured.

After excusing many dangerous challenges, referee Sunil Powar was forced to dish out a second red card of the morning as he sent off Nagpur’s Talha Ahmed for a rash tackle on a Mumbai player. Mumbai held on for a 3-0 win to seal a deserved place in the Final.

The Final between Mumbai and Pune will kick off at the Sports Complex Ground in Nashik at 9 am on Wednesday.