Five-star Indian Navy retains Independence Day Cup

15th August 2017, Mumbai: Elite Division side Indian Navy retained Independence Day Cup title after thumping Western Railway 5-1 in the final at St. Xavier’s Ground, Parel. In the last four editions, this was Indian Navy and Western Railway’s fourth meeting in the Final of Independence Day Cup.

In the semi-finals, Indian Navy defeated Central Bank of India (CBI) 5-4 on penalties, whereas, Western Railway edged past Mumbai Strikers 1-0, courtesy of Lineker Machado’s strike which set up an Indian Navy and Western Railway final, yet again.

Indian Navy started off brilliantly. They could have scored within five minutes itself when Lalchhumawia found Hari Krishna with a pinpoint long ball, the latter setup Bipaka Thapa who hit his effort just wide of the right-hand side post.

Four minutes later, the defending champions finally opened the scoring through Britto PM. The number 9 superbly lobbed over Western Railway Goalkeeper Jagroop Singh to put Navy in front.

A few minutes later, Lalchhumawia setup Hari Krishna who made no mistake as he slots past Jagroop to make it 2-0 inside the first twenty minutes of the final. The holders went into the break with two goals advantage.

In the second-half, Western Railway dominated their counterparts for the first ten minutes. They soon cut short the deficit through Somi PT’s deflected goal. Striker Reuben D’Souza rolled the ball towards Lineker Machado whose powerful shot was saved by Vishnu V.K, only to fell in Somi’s path. The midfielder deflected shot went past the hapless goalkeeper as Western Railway finally scored.

But Navy came back strong. Britto PM assisted Benno which made it 3-1 just before Biplab assisted Sarbjith Singh to increase their lead by three goals. Western Railway started to crumble in front of a brilliant Indian Navy side.

The fifth and final goal was, unfortunately, an own goal when Western Railway’s defender Raju Singh found his own net.

In the end, it was Indian Navy who comprehensively manage to defend their title. Their 4th title in last five editions. For his spectacular performance, Navy’s Britto PM was adjudged as the player of the tournament.

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