Mumbai FC Debut Diaries: Ashutosh Mehta

The Debut Diaries series sees Mumbai FC players speak about their debut game with the club, their first appearance in the I-League and most importantly their first ever goal for the club. In the first of this series this season, we have Mumbai FC’s talented and versatile full-back Ashutosh Mehta as he goes down the memory lane and speaks about his first bow as a Mumbai FC player.

Coincidentally, Ashutosh’s debut for the club and his first I-League appearance for the club happens to be the same encounter away in Kolkata. As the right back recalls, a young 19 year old boy was summoned at half time by Coach Khalid Jamil as he prepared to throw him on a the field at the hostile Salt Lake stadium in a game which Mumbai FC trailed by a goal at the break. “We were playing in Kolkata against Mohun Bagan at the Salt Lake stadium when coach Khalid Jamil asked me to warm up at half time suggesting I would have to go on the field at some point in the second half,” Mehta recalled.

The moment came just three minutes from the restart when as a 19 year old Ashutosh Mehta began, what today is a really promising career. Playing at the right wing position, the teenager won many hearts but couldn’t prevent his side from going down 2-0 to Mohun Bagan on 30th December 2010, a day deeply etched in Ashutosh Mehta’s memories.

Mehta was honest enough to tell us that he was quite terrified by the fact that he was about to make his first appearance for the club, but Coach Khalid Jamil’s calming words before the game helped him not just get through his first appearance for the club, but also earn some plaudits for his performances. “To be honest I was really scared. But my coach showed great faith in me and that gave me immense confidence. He just asked me to always remember how good I was and told me to enjoy the game. I am glad I was able to do well in that game. The coach was very happy with my performance and he played me the entire season then. The first season with Mumbai FC was really memorable for me,” a nostalgic Mehta exclaimed.

Ashutosh’s home debut was exactly five days later when Mumbai FC entertained East Bengal in Kolhapur, which was their home ground for that season. The Mumbai FC full-back fondly remembers that game as he assisted Ezeh Henry for Mumbai FC’s equalizer that saw them claim a precious point. “I assisted Henry for our equalizer in my first game at home. That was a really good feeling and it helped me get the confidence for the rest of the season. The assist was important as the goal helped us turn our form around and we went on a three game winning run after that,” Mehta recollected.

Having got his first assist in just his second game for the club, Ashutosh had to wait till the 2013/14 season to score his first ever goal for the club. The goal came against Rangdajied United at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune when Ashutosh Mehta scored against Subrata Pal to earn his side a point as Ashutosh fondly remembers. “My first goal was against Rangdajied United, but most importantly it was against Subrata Pal. He was in goal at that time and it was good score your first for the club against goalkeeper of that caliber. The goal also helped us draw that game, so it was also very important for the team,” Ashutosh revealed.

Ashutosh Mehta has been a great servant to Mumbai FC since and is into his sixth season with the club. We hope this season the versatile and fashionable defender would have more such memories to cherish when we look back at this campaign few years down the line.

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