MDFA ELITE DIVISION: Dias-Fernandes show derails Central Railways

Mumbai, 4th January 2019: For the handful of spectators (including this writer) who watched this game at the Cooperage Stadium on Friday…the 5-1 score-line was total paisa vasool! And that was because of Air India’s Allan Dias who scored a hat-trick!

Of course, Rinaldo Fernandes – the Robin to Dias’ Batman   — also impressed with his pace, work-rate, and dribbling. The warning signs were there for Railways when their goalkeeper made a hash of a clearance early in the first half. And they did concede when Dias smashed home a free kick in the 12th minute. It was one-way traffic as Air India went into offensive mode!

The second goal came when Scott D’Souza hit home a low free kick in the 25th minute. Also, Fernandes’ clever dummy during the free kick ritual caught the eye! Of course, his slaloming runs from the left flank had the Railways defenders in disarray. One such run allowed him to cross to Sumesh Nair who scored the third goal in the 30th minute.

As the first-half ended…Railways looked down and out! Come the second-half and Air India persisted with a high-pressing and attacking game. And it paid off when Dias tapped home a rebound in the 56th minute after the Railways defenders had failed to clear a cross. Railways did get a consolation goal when Chetan Waghela scored off a header in the 73th minute.

And as Dias glanced home the fifth goal in the 75th minute…it proved to be the icing on the cake! Dias’ finishing and Fernandes’ bull-terrier-like approach made the difference for Air India.