Harwood Champions League: Late penalty gives Bank of Baroda a 3-2 win over KSA

The opening game of MFA Harwood Champions League turned out to be a perfect introduction to the tournament as Bank of Baroda edged out KSA in a 5 goal thriller.

In a dramatic ending to a high-intensity end-to-end match, Denzil Mascarenhas’s penalty in the 90th minute turned out to be the deciding factor as Bank of Baroda picked all three points in the opening game of the MFA Harwood Champions League.

KSA started the game brightly coming out with intent as they moved ahead and looked to press for possession. The high press paid off when in just the 2nd minute of the game, the BOB defense were forced into an error when a poorly headed back pass that was meant for the goalkeeper to collect was intervened by Sanchit Singh, who made no mistake in striking it past the keeper to make it 1-0.

Bank of Baroda struck back quickly in the 8th minute when Saurabh Nikam on the right flank cut inside beating his marker before unleashing a stunning curler with his left foot from the edge of the box that beat a diving keeper to nestle into the KSA net as scores were brought level.

However, KSA continued with their attacking intent, and a minute after the equalizer, they were back in the lead when Advait Shinde’s penetrating through ball was latched on by Sanchit Singh who rounded off the keeper before placing it to the far post to make it 2-1.

BOB looked to strike back again and had a chance created off a corner when Hardik Bhatt‘s dangerous cross was headed just off target by Saurabh. At the other end, Ashish had a chance to double the lead for his side only to be denied by a last-ditch tackle from a BOB defender.

However, in the second minute of first-half injury time, a miss pass from KSA allowed Bank of Baroda striker Denzil to make a counter-attacking move that ended with a clinical finish in goal as both sides entered the break at 2-2.

In the second half, KSA had a number of opportunities to take the lead again but profligacy set in as they were unable to find that final finish. Asadul Khan had a header miss before Sanchit’s shot came off BOB defender. A few minutes later, Asadul sent in a low ball across the BOB box but Sanchit was unable to reach in time to tap it in as the scores remained tied at 2-2.

At the other end, BoB seemed to be in a similar situation, unable to finish the chances coming their way. Midway through the game, a miss from Noel allowed Rakshit to cut in before setting up Denzil whose shot went straight to the keeper. At the other end, KSA almost took the lead, when defender Noel sent in a long ball for Asadul in attack, who headed goal wards, the ball bounced just ahead of the BOB keeper who managed it to save it comfortably.

In the dying minutes of the game, Rakshit sent in a dangerous ball into the KSA box which was cleared away. Saurabh then showed brilliant touch and pace to take ball back into the danger area but was brought down by KSA defender inside the box which the referee deemed as foul, and pointed towards the spot-kick. Denzil Mascarenhas stepped up for the penalty and despite KSA Keeper judging the right way and getting his finger on the way, the shot was powerful enough to still find the net as BOB took the lead for the first time in the game.

In the final minutes of the game, KSA tried their best to make a comeback and get an equalizer but it was too late as the referee blew the final full-time whistle.

FT: Bank Of Baroda (Saurabh Nikam 8’, Denzil Mascarenhas 45+2’, 90’ (P)) 3 – 2 Karnatak Sporting Association (Sanchit Singh 2’, 9’)

For Trial related updates: Latest trials updates in Mumbai Football

Also Read: MSP holds Western Railway; ESIC loses to BOI as relegation battle intensifies

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