Mumbai FC are I-League IInd Division champions

May 4th, 2008 - 12:20 am ICT by admin  

Guwahati, May 3 (IANS) Within a year of their formation, Mumbai FC created history by emerging champions in the I-League’s IInd Division, defeating Chirag United 1-0 in the title match at the Nehru Stadium here Saturday. A penalty converted by Felix Abogaye in the 12th minute gave Mumbai FC the lead, which eventually turned out to be the match winner. They defended doggedly, playing with 10 men for 53 minutes after defender James Dissimarah was evicted for a dangerous tackle on Theodore Sunday in the 37th minute.

Mumbai FC, who were also playing for a cash bonus of Rs.5 million promised by their management if they won the final, began the match with speed and purpose and were all over the rival defence.

In the 12th minute United defender Kinshuk Debnath brought down Michael Osei in the penalty box and the referee wasted no time in awarding the spot kick to the Mumbai side, which Abogaye slotted home with precision.

For Chirag United Sunday and Gauranga Dutta combined well. In the 20th minute United goalkeeper Kalyan Chuabey dived low to collect the ball.

After Dissimarah was sent out Chirag United made a couple of threatening attacks in the closing minutes of the first half, first Sanjay Parte blocking Sunday’s shot and then Gauranga’s shot finding the upright.

In the second half, Mumbai FC coach David Booth brought in Anas Ekhodika for Felix to shore up the defence and brilliant tactics helped them not only protect their slender lead but also mount attacks.

In the 67th minute, Mumbai FC had a great chance to make it 2-0 when Yadav headed on Selwyn’s cross for Osei in the penalty box, but he hit the ball straight into the hands of the United custodian.

Booth was full of praise for his boys who worked hard to form a cohesive unit in a short time. “The mix of experience and youth worked perfectly, with every player giving his best. We never lost sight of the title, even after qualifying and the focus was always on emerging as champions.”

Mumbai FC general manager Henry Menezes said: “We were confident that out boys would deliver when it mattered most and hence had announced prize money for them if they emerged champions. They have earned every rupee of it with their effort.”

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