Defending champions knocked out in semis by Bombay Scottish; St Lawrence beat St Francis at Cooperage
It was a day of upsets in the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) boys U-16 Div I semi-finals at the refurbished astro turf-laden Cooperage yesterday.
Bombay Scottish players celebrate after scoring against Don Bosco during a MSSA U-16 Division I semi-final clash at Cooperage yesterday. Pic/Sameer Markande
In the first semi-final, a last-minute goal from substitute Bhavya Jain saw Bombay Scottish (Mahim) register a shock 2-1 win over defending champions Don Bosco (Matunga). Next up, St Lawrence (Kandivli) stunned St Francis D'Assisi High School (Borivli) by the same margin in the second semi.
Though it was the Matunga outfit that took the lead through their captain Bryce Miranda in the 11th minute, the Mahim team seemed to be more comfortable on the turf. The Scottish boys aptly equalised nine minutes later through a solo strike by Parth Damani.
1-1 at half-time
With both teams locked 1-1 at half-time the Bosco boys, who have held on to this title for the last five years on the trot, looked eager to get on to the ground and assert their supremacy again. They began the second half well too, even as Scottish defended strongly.
Then came the turning point of the match. In the 48th minute, Scottish striker Aheed Shaikh suffered an injury and coach Adib Kenkre replaced him with Bhavya Jain. Bhavya scored the winner seconds before the final whistle.
Don Bosco coach Leslie Machado praised the Scottish side. "Our boys played very badly. Scottish side played as a unit and were far better than us. They deserved the win," he said.
Meanwhile, a disappointed Bosco captain Bryce said his boys were tired. "We were very excited to play at this astro turf surface but the excitement didn't last beyond the first-half. We didn't have the stamina to sustain the full 60 minutes," he said.
Meanwhile, the Scottish outfit, who last made it to this final in 2002, were overjoyed. "We have beaten the dons of Mumbai school's football. It's a nce-in-a-blue-moon moment. Bhavya is my super sub. I've played him as a substitute in two matches and in both he has scored," said Kenkre.
In the second semi-final, Krish Adhikari opened the scoring for St Lawrence (4th min) and Ishan Rana extended the lead (32nd min). Pratik Shah scored for D'Assisi but it was not enough to stop St Lawrence from reaching their maiden U-16 Div I final.