Ridge D’Mello hat-trick sees Mumbai through to the Final against unsporting Nagpur

Mumbai District made it to the Final of the Maharashtra Inter District Football Championship for Sub-Junior Boys after forward Ridge D’Mello inspired Mumbai to a 3-0 win over Nagpur in an ill-tempered clash which saw two Nagpur players sent off. Mumbai’s brilliance upfront was overshadowed by some extremely physical play by the Nagpur side which left many Mumbai players injured.

Mumbai got on top right from the outset and pegged Nagpur back in their own half. However Nagpur tried to shrug off the pressure by pressing from the back, but that allowed Ridge D’Mello to run behind the Nagpur defence in the 10th minute and lob the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper into the back of the net to put Mumbai ahead.

Despite being second best for most of the first half, Nagpur got  golden chance to get back on level terms when they were awarded a penalty midway through the first half. But Nagpur squandered that chance and let Mumbai off the hook.

Mumbai then made Nagpur pay in the 33rd minute, when Ridge D’Mello did brilliantly to beat the offside trap and go past the goalkeeper to squeeze in a brilliant finish from an extremely tight angle. Nagpur who were growing increasingly frustrated resorted to a highly unsporting physical assault on the Mumbai players. Nagpur’s Furkan Raza was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence. Mumbai ended the first half strongly, but had to settle for a 2-0 lead at the break.

However Mumbai added to their advantage just minutes into the second half when Ridge D’Mello completed his hat-trick and very much put the game to bed. The scoreline seemed too hard for the Nagpur coach to digest and launched verbal attack on the referee as he felt the referees failed to give certain decisions in his side’ favour.

Unfortunately, the coach’s behavior reflected in the team’s play as the Nagpur players who became increasingly physical and often brought down the Mumbai players unlawfully. Referee Sunil Powar had to control the game and sent Nagpur’s Talha Ahmed off late in the second half as Nagpur were reduced to nine men.

Unfotunately, all of Mumbai’s sublime play throughout the game was overshadowed by the unsporting behavior from the Nagpur side who left a bad taste in the mouths of the spectators and the match officials alike.

Mumbai will now face the winners of the second semi-final between Pune and Nashik in the Final tomorrow.

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