Salsette and Sahyadri Krida Mandal misfire as the heated encounter ends goalless

Sahyadri Krida Mandal (SKM) held Salsette FC to a goalless draw in an extremely physical encounter of the MDFA (Mumbai District Football Association) 1st Division at the St. Xavier’s Ground in Parel on 17th February 2015. Both teams had plenty of chances, but neither could make it count.

Salsette FC which were the more fancied of the two sides before the encounter started the game on the front foot. Salsette came close to taking the lead in the 9th minute when Bryan D’Souza was nicely released on the right flank before he delivered a fine cross at the far post for Sahil Mukane who fired his header across the face of the goal.
Sahil nearly made amends a minute later, when was centimeters away from making a connection to yet another cross from the right wing. Salsette had come flying out of the blocks and were threatening the Sahyadri Krida Mandal goal.

SKM had their first real opening in the 12th minute when Pragnesh Patel broke free on the left flank to drive into the Salsette box and shoot. But the angle was way too tight for the SKM wideman to pose any kind of threat to the Salsette goalkeeper.

The opening did help SKM settle into the game and they nearly went in front in the 19th minute when Nishad Govindan’s header struck the crossbar. Couple of minutes later, there was a moment of controversy in the match which led to Salsette FC players appealing for a penalty after series of shirt pulling incidents were evident. But referee Rahul Pawar awarded the decision against them and awarded SKM the free kick.

In the 24th minute, it was Salsette who struck the upright through Jayesh Bambardekar whose cross went out of the right hand side post. There was another moment of huge controversy when Jayesh Bambardekar was brought down by a SKM defender as he tried to get on the end of a long ball. Referee Rahul Pawar did award them the free kick, but did not produce the red card which the SKM defender deserved for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity.

The referee avoided the scenario of spoiling the game by sending off a player, but failure to produce even a yellow was quite baffling.

The referee brought an entertaining half of football to a close which saw both teams strike the woodwork meaning there was nothing to separate the two sides.

Unlike the first half, it was SKM who started the second half brightly and had a header cleared off the line in the 47th minute. SKM continued their resurgence and forced a brilliant save off Abhijeet Gajwani who did brilliantly to come off the line to deny the SKM attacker who found himself in a one on one situation with the keeper.

SKM’s dominance faded as the game approached the final quarter and the game became increasingly physical. Referee Rahul Pawar kept the cards to his pockets but warned the players to control themselves.

Rising tempers and flying tackles drifted the focus of the players from the main aim as the game became scrappy with plenty of stoppages. Salsette’s Nachiket Pimprikar came close in the 73rd minute when he failed to keep his shot down as it sailed over the crossbar.

Salsette’s Sahil Mukane battled his way into space just inside the box, but fired his shot over the crossbar in the final minute of the eighty. SKM keeper showed great composure and courage along with some good skill when he emphatically collected a deep cross from Nachiket Pimprikar in the first minute of stoppage time, showcasing his command in his box.

Rahul Pawar blew for full time as both teams settled for a point a piece. It was a game of two halves in more than one sense with Salsette being the better team in the first, while SKM having the better of the second one. Secondly the first half was a good game of football with the second one being more of a battlefield.

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