Spirited KSA comeback stuns Western Railways

Karnataka Sporting Association (KSA) overturned a first half deficit to beat Western Railways 2-1 and register only their second win in the Elite Division of the Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) at Cooperage on 29th March 2015.

Western Railways started as favorites after thrashing PIFA Colaba 6-0 in their previous outing, while KSA only managed a draw against Union Bank of India last time they took to the Cooperage field.

Western Railways were quicker out of the blocks as compared to KSA as they very nearly made their quick start count when a clever pass from Anil Pawar found Keniston C. in space ahead of the KSA goal. But Keniston fired his shot just over the crossbar, letting KSA off the hook in the 8th minute.

Western Railways remained on the front foot in the remainder of the half but failed to create any great openings of note.

But they made their superiority count in the 42nd minute when Somi P.T who was released on the left flank by a Western Railways midfielder, drilled a low cross in the box which was put away by Keniston C. from close range to put Western railways ahead.

Buoyed by the goal, Western Railways began to play with a lot more cohesion as Ashif N. was inches away from doubling Western Railways advantage when he put his foot through a lay off only to see his powerful drive sail agonizingly over the crossbar in the final minute of the half.

Western Railways held their slender lead into the break as KSA had their work cut out if they were to force their way back into the game.

It was a different KSA team in the second half as they came out all guns blazing. Arihi Uchela missed a sitter, just two minutes into the second half when he failed to head the corner kick home from two yards out despite being totally unmarked.

But he made amends a minute later, as he squared Roger Sam who pulled KSA level with a simple tap in. The goal was a mirror image of the Western Railway opener as KSA came storming back into the game after a sluggish first half.

The assist boosted Arihi Uchela’s confidence as he nearly put KSA in front in the 52nd minute, when he danced his way into the box after skipping past three Western Railways defenders, but he lost his balance at the crucial moment to see his scuffed effort go comfortable over the goal.

The Nigerial was at the thick of the things again, three minutes later, when he did brilliantly to beat the offside trap and get on the end of a Valentine Pereira through ball only to be denied by an alert Nesarullah Khan who quickly came off his line to block the rampant Nigerian’s effort.

Western Railways brought on Aavesh Shaikh in place of Souvaid Ansari with a view of turning the KSA tide early on in the second half. But it wasn’t enough as KSA edged in front in the 66th minute through Tarique Ansari who drilled his shot right hand side bottom corner.

The second half KSA surge had totally taken Western Railways by surprise as they stared down the barrel with the last quarter of the game to play.

Substitute Clayton D’Souza forced Kishen Sulegai into a blinder when his bullet header from six yards out was tipped over by the KSA shot stopper in heroic fashion in the 77th minute to deny Western Railways an equalizer.

Both teams had half chances to score as the game fizzled out towards the end before Somi P.T. missed a great chance to snatch a point deep into stoppage time when he fired his header from a free kick into the side netting. It was a huge let off for KSA who had completely switched off while defending the free kick.

The referee blew for full time to spark celebrations in the KSA camp and also among a section of KSA supporters who had gathered to cheer their team.

The win was KSA’s second of the season, taking their tally to 8 points in as many games, just two points behind Western Railways who had ten points in seven games.

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