MH Oranje FC U23 kicked-off their playoff campaign with an exhilarating 2-0 win over Somaiya FC

In a captivating kickoff to their MFA Super League campaign, Maharashtra Oranje FC U23 secured a stylish 2-0 victory against Somaiya FC, with early goals setting the tone for their playoff journey.

In a captivating kickoff to their MFA Super League campaign, Maharashtra Oranje FC U23 secured a stylish 2-0 victory against Somaiya FC, with early goals setting the tone for their playoff journey.

Under the sunny afternoon sky, MH Oranje FC U23 faced Somaiya FC in a highly anticipated playoff fixture. Recalling their previous encounter where Somaiya clinched a dramatic late winner in the group stage of Mumbai Super League, MH Oranje FC U23 was determined to turn the tables. In this battle, Dhrumil and Zothanpuia emerged as the heroes, securing a clinical 2-0 win.

MH Oranje FC took charge from the outset, orchestrating a well-executed build up that resulted in a 6th-minute lead. Jatinder precise threaded pass found skipper Rahul Nair, who flicked the ball one touch to Kamal Rawte on right flank. Kamal then took a touch and delivered a pinpoint cross into the box which met the header of Rahul Nair but gets blocked by defender, however the ball deflected back to Rahul’s feet who cuts it across for an unmarked Dhrumil for an easy tap-in goal to break the deadlock.

Four minutes later into the game Dhrumil intercepted a pass in his own half & initiated a swift counter-attack. As it set the stage for a remarkable sequence of event. As the ball was expertly intercepted from the defensive zone, he passed it to midfielder Zothanpuia strategically positioned himself, Capitalizing on a 2 v 3 situation, Zothanpuia received the pass and advanced toward the halfway line before unleashing an extraordinary screamer from an astounding distance of 50 yards. The audacious strike caught Somaiya’s goalkeeper, Jai Patel, off guard. Despite Jai Patel’s frantic attempt to reach the ball, Zothanpuia’s shot exhibited both power and precision, ultimately finding the back of the net. This unforeseen long-range goal not only showcased individual brilliance but also underscored MH Oranje FC U23’s strategic prowess, transforming a defensive scenario into a breathtaking offensive display.

As the game progressed, Oranje continued their offensive efforts. Zothanpuia and Dhrumil combined for another attempt, but the shot went over the net. Captain Rahul Nair and Somaiya’s Arjun Singh engaged in a battle on the right wing, showcasing the defensive prowess of both teams. Despite Somaiya’s Shubham Chafe’s interception leading to a promising shot by Vaibhav Shetti, Raaquib Merchant made a crucial save to keep Oranje’s cleansheet. On the other end, Oranje’s strikers displayed skillful moves, but the defenders of Somaiya thwarted their attempts. Despite some relentless attacks Oranje couldn’t add much to the tally leading into the break with a 2-0 score.

In the second half, both Maharashtra Oranje and Somaiya FC exhibited commendable defensive efforts, particularly the former preventing any equalizing attempts from Somaiya’s strikers. Somaiya FC, however, took charge after the break, employing threaded passes that required the Oranje defense to remain vigilant, building on their solid performance in the first half. Oranje had couple of 1 on 1 situation with Egan hitting a post once while the other chance but timely intercepted by keeper Jai Patel.

For Somaiya, Edywn and Vaibhav combined outside the box, attempting several instances to breach the Oranje defense, but Raaquib Merchant stood as an imposing wall, making crucial saves in the dying moments to secure a clean sheet. In the 89th minute, Mandar Palav’s shot, deflected by Jatinder, narrowly missed the target. As the final whistle blew, MH Oranje FC U23 celebrated their first playoffs victory with a slender 2-0 win.

Looking ahead, both teams have distinct narratives in their upcoming fixture against IoT. Somaiya, with just 1 point from 4 games, aims to conclude their campaign on a positive note against tournament favorites IoT FC, whereas MH Oranje FC U23, with 4 games remaining, faces the challenge of making significant strides in their playoff journey. Their next test awaits them against IoT FC on the morning of 9th March.

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Also Read: Oranje U23 seals playoff spot after Iron Born, KSA Junior stalemate in MFA Super League thriller

Also Read: MFA Super League Playoff:Om Saidham, Somaiya FC settle for 2-2 draw

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