Torrential Tussle: India on Track trumps Mumbai Soccer Prodigies in rain-drenched clash

Mumbai Soccer Prodigies India on Track

The MFA Super League witnessed a unique showdown as Mumbai Soccer Prodigies (MSP) locked horns with India on Track (IoT) amidst a relentless downpour.

From the outset, it was evident that the relentless rain would play a significant role in shaping the game. The pitch, inundated with water, made the ball’s movement sluggish, leading to a scrappy start as both teams adapted to the unusual circumstances.

Close Call for MSP: An Early Free Kick Drama

The first significant chance of the match arrived in the 12th minute when MSP won a free kick in the opponent’s half. Vinay Kondamuri’s high-arching delivery into the box was inadvertently headed towards his own goal by an IoT defender. Fortunately for them, the ball ricocheted off the upright, leaving the scoreline unaltered at 0-0.

The Rain Factor: Waterlogged Pitch Tests Players

As the rain continued to pour, the waterlogged pitch became a challenging obstacle for players. IoT had a couple of promising moments, including free-kick opportunities from outside the box, but they failed to truly test MSP’s vigilant goalkeeper. At the other end for Mumbai Soccer Prodigies, Nitesh Aswani found himself with a shooting chance, but his effort from just outside the box veered wide of the target.

IoT Breaks the Deadlock: Laitonjam Meetai’s Clinical Finish

IoT eventually managed to break the deadlock with a swift counterattack. Nathan Branganza’s through ball pierced the MSP defense, finding Laitonjam Meetai on the right. Meetai, with composure, entered the box and placed the ball precisely past the MSP keeper, making it 1-0. In the lead-up to half-time, IoT’s Nathan Branganza orchestrated a move that resulted in a chance for his striking partner, Saurabh Nikkam. However, Nikkam’s first-time effort was thwarted by a vigilant MSP defender.

Mumbai Soccer Prodigies India on Track

Second half: MSP continues to create chance, IoT doubles the lead

Early in the second half, MSP came tantalizingly close to leveling the score as Varad Parab’s header from close range sailed over the crossbar. Around the hour mark, IoT’s Anurag PC embarked on a rapid run down the wings, cutting inside and unleashing a powerful shot on target. However, a remarkable save by MSP’s goalkeeper, Shreyans Chaplot, denied IoT a second goal.

As the relentless rain continued to pour, IoT’s Joshua Dsouza received a second yellow card for a foul on an MSP midfielder, leading to his expulsion from the match. In the 74th minute, Sebastin Almedia put the game beyond doubt for IoT. He calmly finished off another brilliant run by an IoT player, tapping the ball into the net. Despite MSP’s best efforts, the slippery conditions hampered their attempts to find their rhythm.

Nihal goes close but fails to find the net

MSP had late chances to reduce the deficit, but they were left frustrated due to their profligacy. In one instance, Maanav Varanasi set Gaurav Adhikari through on goal, the striker beats the keeper before cutting the ball across for Nihal, who narrowly missed the target. In another opportunity, Shubham set Nihal free on goal, but his shot from a tight angle sailed just above the crossbar.

In the dying moments of the game, Nihal attempted a free kick from 30 yards out, seeking to pull one back for MSP. However, IoT’s alert goalkeeper, Anish Chetty, produced a diving save to preserve his clean sheet.

In the dying moments of the game, Nihal attempted a free kick from 30 yards out, seeking to pull one back for MSP. However, IoT’s alert goalkeeper, Anish Chetty, produced a diving save to preserve his clean sheet.

As the referee’s final whistle echoed through the rain-soaked stadium, IoT emerged as the victors with a score of 2-0. Despite the challenging conditions, both teams displayed unwavering spirit and determination throughout the match.

Mumbai Soccer Prodigies

Coach Rathod’s Positive Outlook

After the game, MSP’s Head coach, Ashutosh Rathod, remained optimistic, saying, “We had a good start as we had planned and had a good control on the game, but the rains had different plans. We had to play a very different game than our regular style of play due to waterlogging, and it didn’t work great for us. Kudos to IoT; the boys showed some grit, rose up to the occasion and won the game. I know my lads really well, and I am sure we will be coming back stronger.”

Furthermore, Ashutosh believes he has the strongest unit together in the league, “It’s a unique set of players that I have and possibly the strongest unit together in the division. It’s a long season, so we have a lot to achieve, and we will not lose the grip on our goals.”

The match might be remembered for the rain-drenched battle, but it also highlighted the resilience and adaptability of both teams in the face of adversity.

Also Read: Penalty heartbreak for India after 2-2 draw against Iraq in King’s Cup Semis

Also Read: Mumbai Marines FC look to continue their winning start to the season

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