Campion skipper Joshua Machado scored the lone goal in the semi-finals to knock out defending champions St Lawrence High School (Kandivli) 1-0 and book a spot in the final of the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) boys' U-16 Division I inter-school football tournament at Cooperage yesterday.
St Francis D'Assisi skipper Mandar Vasaikar (left) and Don Bosco's Atharva Ghatkar vie for the ball at Cooperage yesterday. Pic/Suresh KK
The Colaba school practiced for an hour on the Cooperage turf on Monday while their rivals, some of whom had come to the ground right after giving their exams, had chosen not to travel for an hour just to practice on the artificial turf.
In the second minute of the match, Campion were rewarded a free-kick due to a handball 30 yards away from the goal. Right-back Joshua stepped up and guided the ball effortlessly from the right of the two-man wall into the left-hand bottom corner of the goal.
In the 23rd minute, St Lawrence's Krish Adhikari was brought down in the box, but the Kandivli outfit was denied a penalty, much to the anger of coach Lachman Singh Bisht and the players. In the second half, St Lawrence tried hard to equalise but their efforts went in vain as the strong defence of Campion held on despite repeated attempts.
"This was my first goal of the tournament and I scored in the crucial game. I am very happy that we reached the final. This is my last year in school and I want to win the title. We just practiced for an hour on Cooperage to get the feel of the ground and it helped us adapt in today's game," said 15-year-old Joshua.
Bisht, who was still fuming about the penalty decision, admitted that their rivals were the better side. "They were a better team and played better than us. I'm really disappointed with the referee's decision to not give us a penalty," he said.
Meanwhile Don Bosco 'A' (Matunga) defeated St Francis D'Assisi High School (Borivli) 2-0 in the other semi-final. The Matunga outfit got the lead in the 27th minute from Anushk Palande. In the second half, Atharva Ghatkar doubled Bosco's lead in the 35th minute. Don Bosco will take on Campion in the final on August 18 at Cooperage.
In an U-16 Division II semi-final encounter, Don Bosco (Borivli) beat Arya Vidya Mandir (Juhu) 1-0. In another Division II match, Hansraj Morarji (Andheri) beat Cathedral and John Connon School 1-0.