Amey Bhatkal’s hattrick inspires Air India comeback against Mumbai Strikers in the Super Division semifinal

Air India U19 came back from a goal down to beat Mumbai Strikers 4-1 in the Mumbai District Football Association ( MDFA), Super Division play-off semi final match held on Saturday afternoon at St Xavier’s ground, Parel.

One of the most anticipated matches in this year’s MDFA Super Division was Mumbai Strikers vs Air India U19. They locked horns in the semi final, battling for a place in the final. A win for Mumbai Strikers would promote them to the Elite Division but a win for Air India U19 could mean the end of the story for the Strikers who were in red hot form all throughout the season.

The match began in favor of the Strikers as Akshay Devadiga successfully converted a penalty in the seventh minute to give Mumbai Strikers an early advantage. The strikers then had to go defensive as Air India began a string of attacks leaving all 11 Strikers players to defend the lead. And with all the misses from Air India coupled with a resolute defensive performance Mumbai Strikers went into the break with a one goal lead.

Air India U19 came out all guns blazing in the second half. And with number 7  Amey Bhatkal leading the charge, they managed to equalise immediately just 5 minutes into the second half. A lovely one-two before calmly slotting home the finish. Air India U19 won a penalty in the 55th minute which was cooly converted by Jayesh Sahani completing the turn around. But there was more to come from the Cristiano Ronaldo of Air India U19 team Amey Bhatkal. He latched onto a brilliant cross from the right scoring his second goal making it 3-1 in the 62 minutes.  The enxt 15-18 minutes belonged to Mumbai Strikers

Mumbai Strikers did not give up. And could have got back into the game. But a magnificant performance from the Air India keeper kept them out. The strikers also missed a host of chances. 6-7 clear cut chances were spurned by them. That was a dent to their comeback. That did not stop Amey who cut past 4 players along the touchline before slotting home the ball completing his hattrick. A second half hattrick of the highest order that took Air India in the final of the MDFA Super Division play off. They will await the winner of the second semi final. M.S.Police and Dena Bank who play on Sunday on the Goans ground at 3pm.

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