Routine Victory for Air India as they beat Mumbai Customs 3-0

Air India won against Mumbai Customs by three goals to zero in their MDFA Elite Division fixture at Cooperage, Mumbai. After a goalless first-45 minutes of football, Air India wrapped-up the victory in the 2nd-half with two goals scored by no.7 Henderson Dias in the 51st and 57th minute; no.10 Reed Santos also struck in the 69th minute. It was for the first-time, this season that Mumbai Customs failed to score in an Elite Division game.

Lately, Air India has been a victim of a number of injury concerns at the back. On paper, Air India featured in a 4-2-3-1, but largely they featured with 3 and, at times 2 defenders at the back as they created a 4v4 situation against the 4 Mumbai Customs defenders; while they pushed their two full-backs higher up-front in order to create an overload on either of the flanks. On occasions, Air India’s goalkeeper acted a sweeper-goalkeeper; filling-up the role of an extra passing option at the back.

Air India set their gameplan into action from minute one and executed it appropriately until the final minute of the game. Despite performing poorly with regard to chance conversion in the opening 45-minute, Air India improvised on it later-on. Air India came close to scoring on a hatful of occasions in the opening first-quarter of the game; an appeal for a penalty was turned-out after Aaron D’Costa tumbled inside the box in the 8th minute and Subhas Chakraborty rattled the frame of the goal twice inside two minutes (9’ and 11’). Mumbai Customs recorded their first shot on goal in the 14th minute, when Mohd. Ishaq hit his shot straight at the goalkeeper.

Subhas Chakraborty came close to opening the goalscoring, again; this time, his powerful and swirling effort was equally matched by a great save by the Mumbai Customs goalie, who just about was able to finger-tip the ball over the crossbar. Chances came thick and quick, largely in the favor of Air India; while Mumbai Customs favored to sit deep and pounce of any half-chance. Air India came closest to scoring in the 39th minute mark through Subhas Chakraborty, again, but an alert mind and powerful hand from the Mumbai Customs goalkeeper kept them in the tie.

As the first-half reached its closing stages, Mumbai Customs enjoyed a brief spell of attacking as Air India sat back and looked for an opportunity or two on the break before the half-time whistle was blown. But, neither of it came-off in a positive sense as the half concluded at 0-0.

The goals, in particular, Air India scored came from moments when either Air India intercepted passes in midfield or Air India hit them on the counter-attack, and not when Air India broke or penetrated passed a block of Mumbai Custom players. No doubt their supposed Plan B worked-out perfectly. The first-goal came in the 51st minute, Air India countered from an opportunity which saw Mumbai Customs hit the crossbar. Aaron D’Costa rolled-in a grounded pass into Henderson Dias’ way for him to tap-home Air India in the lead. 6 minutes later, after an interception in midfield and neat work in the final-third, Aaron D’Costa went clear on goal only to see his attempt saved by the goalkeeper, but the latter could only see Henderson Dias heading-in the follow-up.

Before Air India would score their 3rd goal, Subhas Chakraborty – 3rd time – hit the frame of the goal in the 65th minute. The third goal came close to the 70th minute mark from substitute Reed Santos, when the no.10 placed a perfect shot in the left-corner from the edge of the 18-yard-box; completing the scoring in considerable fashion. The closure of the game didn’t produce much action and the ball largely pondered in and around the midfield and final-third.

With another routine win over Mumbai Customs, Air India further enhanced their place at the top of the table. Mumbai Customs who failed to score for the first-time this season in the competition, the game didn’t entirely benefit from their lack of goalscoring.

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