Resilient ten men of ONGC see off spirited KSA

Ten men Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) survived a Karnataka Sporting Association (KSA) onslaught in the second half to hold on to a 1-0 win in an Elite Division clash of the Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) at Cooperage on Wednesday, October 7, 2015.

ONGC were favorites for the game after getting back to winning ways against Western Railways in their last outing. Similarly KSA too were on a high after a 4-1 win in their last game.

ONGC started the game slowly and did little to trouble the KSA rearguard in the opening quarter of an hour, but found a way past KSA from a set-piece situation in the 22nd minute.

Karan Atwal was at the right place at the right time to head home a flick on from a corner kick. The goal came at the perfect time for ONGC who looked slightly sluggish to start with.

But going behind did not deter KSA as they continued to venture forward in search of an equalizer. ONGC defended resolutely and took their slender lead into the interval.

ONGC were rocked early on in the second half when seasoned campaigner Dharmesh Patel was sent off in the 52nd minute for the use of abusive language. Patel’s moment of madness put his team under extreme pressure for the rest of the game and gave KSA the needed boost.

KSA added Michael Idewele in place of Tarique Ansari to bolster their attacking options against the ten men of ONGC in the 55th minute. The addition of the striker instilled the much needed pace upfront for KSA as they managed to push ONGC back into their own half.

Nitesh Monde who is famous for his exploits in front of the goal came to the rescue of ONGC when he cleared Hitesh Karkera’s header from a corner kick off the goal line in the 69th minute.

ONGC escaped a huge scare, but were constantly under the cosh as the spirited KSA outfit pushed hard for the equalizer.

There was huge moment of controversy with ten minutes on the clock the linesman flagged a KSA player off after he had put the ball in the net. He was behind the ball when the pass was played, but the referee flagged him offside for the initial pass.

The decision didn’t go too well with the KSA bench who erupted in protest. But Suresh Mendon’s men had another effort on the ONGC goal in the 88th minute when Arihi Uchela’s shot from the edge of the box went inches over the crossbar.

ONGC held firm under extreme KSA pressure to grab an all-important win and keep their title chase on track.

KSA were clearly displeased with the linesman for the rules out goal, but had only themselves to blame for not finishing of the chances which fell their way.

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