Sanjeev Verma saves two penalties against Air India in a 1-1 draw

19th November 2018: Very soon, we will run out of adjectives to describe Bank of India’s Veteran Goalkeeper Sanjeev Verma. In a thrilling Elite Division contest against Air India, the in-form custodian saved two penalties and earned his side a 1-1 draw against the mighty Air India at Mumbai Football Arena (Andheri).

In the previous game against Dena Bank, Sanjeev saved his first penalty of the season which was followed up by two more earlier today. It is quite safe to say that Air India was fortunate enough to escape with a draw but nonetheless, BOI will be happy after a thundering display against one of the best teams from the city.

Air India started off quite brilliantly. Attackers Aditya Dalvi and Alok Chauhan were continuously served upfront but the duo couldn’t convert their chances. This initially came back to haunt Godfred Pereira’s side.

In the 52nd minute, BOI was awarded a free-kick on the right flank. Dead ball specialist Shailesh Jadhav took the responsibility just like he did against Dena Bank where the versatile midfielder scored from under the jumping wall.

This time Shailesh smartly curled the ball across the goal which found Rishik Shetty who made a huge leap to head home and open the scoring. The jubilant BOI dugout joined the celebration as well.

Vijith Shetty didn’t start the game but the experienced midfielder was brought on in the second half to control the tempo and link Air India’s midfield and attack.

But there was one barrier; BOI’s shot-stopper Sanjeev Verma. He made a couple of spectacular saves to keep BOI alive but just when the game was heading towards a historic win, Shailesh Jadhav brought down Air India’s player inside the box which earned him his second yellow card of the game as he was sent off.

Vijith Shetty stepped up to level the score. But little did the Air India’s maestro knew that Sanjeev had other ideas. Vijith went for Sanjeev’s right and so did the veteran goalkeeper as he denied Vijith with a terrific save.

But there was a twist in the tale. Moments after saving the penalty, in order to collect the parried shot, Sanjeev conceded another penalty for BOI.

It seemed all his hard work would go in vain. This time former UBI’s forward Scott D’Souza took the responsibility to take the penalty. But once again, Sanjeev guessed it right as he jumped to his left to save the penalty. The spectators and even the Air India’s bench applauded Sanjeev’s effort.

With time running out, Air India kept pushing forward to capitalize on BOI’s red card and they finally found the back of the net in the 89th minute when Scott D’Souza tapped in from close range to snatch a late draw in what was a thriller.

After the game, Sanjeev Verma was a bit disappointed with the draw which is very understandable. It was a yet another outstanding outing for a man who is living in his 40’s but even at this age, he is inspiring each and everyone on the field.