In a game of two halves, newbies Dodsal FC sparked to life in the second half to romp Mumbai Customs 4-0 in the final of the Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers (RCF) Nadkarni Cup at the RCF ground, Chembur.
Doing so, Dodsal won their first ever tournament after being formed barely four months ago. In September, they reached the final of the Durand Cup where they lost to I-League team Air India 2-3 on penalties.
Champions: Dodsal FC players with the Nadkarni Cup at the RCF ground yesterday. Pic/Jaideep Vaidya
Having won their semi-final by a 7-0 margin, Dodsal were always the favourites. But Mumbai Customs were up for the challenge and took the game to their seemingly superior opponents early on.
They could have scored thrice in the first 10 minutes, but for some superb goalkeeping by Arup Debnath. Dodsal’s first real chance came only on the half-hour mark when midfielder NP Pradeep’s 40-yarder went inches above the crossbar.
After a solid first 45 minutes, Mumbai Customs eventually conceded a goal in injury time after Dodsal’s Sunil Kumar tapped in a set piece. The goal almost deflated Customs as they soon lost all their first-half vigour. Dodsal, buoyed by their break, piled on the pressure in the second half as Rabindra Ghosh shot a bullet into the net from 18 yards in the 53rd to put his side 2-0 up. It was all Dodsal thereafter as Bikash Jairu and captain Paresh Shivalkar netted a goal each to sink Customs.
Debnath, who didn’t concede a goal throughout the tournament, was adjudged Player of the Tournament. Revealing his team’s success mantra, he said: “All we did was to follow the coach’s instructions. It took us till the second half to get into the groove, but the end result is what matters.”
Dodsal coach and former Air India player, Bimal Ghosh thought his side played well overall.
Asked how he inspired his players after a difficult first half, Ghosh said: “That I cannot tell you!”
Ghosh said that Dodsal’s next challenge would be the Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup later this month, followed by the second division I-League fixtures in January.