Riding on Prajin Gandhi's 42nd-minute goal, Jamnabai Narsee 'A' (Juhu) stunned last year's finalist Bombay Scottish (Mahim) 1-0 on the opening day of the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) boys' U-16 Division I inter-school football match at Azad Maidan yesterday.
Prajin Gandhi of Jamnabai Narsee 'A' (left) and Bombay Scottish's Kartik Weling compete for the ball during the MSSA U-16 match at Azad maidan yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble
Though the Mahim outfit came close to scoring thrice, they failed to convert their chances. In the 20th minute, Aryan Yugpurush had a clear chance when there was no Jamnabai defender near him, but missed the bar by a whisker. Later, Scottish's Ameya Chaudhary and Bhavya Jain too missed their opportunities. Both teams were tied 0-0 at half-time.
In the second-half, Scottish tried to dominate the match, till Prajin headed the goal to score off an assist from Karan Dhanda. The 14-year-old Prajin said that the team was initially wary of Scottish players' height and strength. "Bombay Scottish players were taller and fitter as compared to us. We were scared to tackle the ball in the first half. During the break, our coach (Adrian Fernandes) told us to not think about anything but play our natural game. That helped us focus and we won," said Class IX student Prajin.
'Took Jamnabai lightly'
Meanwhile, Bombay Scottish captain Aryan Singh attributed his team's loss to taking Jamnabai lightly. "We underestimated Jamnabai and that cost us dear. After they scored in the second-half, we tried our best, but didn't play our natural game. We got more chances as compared to them, but we missed all of them. They got just one opportunity and they capitalised," said 15-year-old Aryan.
St Mary's ICSE (Mazagaon) principal Fr Dr Francis Swamy filled in for Aditya Thackeray as chief guest at the opening ceremony because the Shiv Sena's youth wing chief couldn't make it. "Just an hour before the start of the opening ceremony, we got the news that he will not be able attend the function since he had a meeting," said MSSA President and football secretary Fr Jude Rodrigues.
St Dominic Savio (Andheri) registered a 2-1 win over St Mary's ICSE (Mazagaon) in the other match of the opening day.
Dominic Savio's Lewis Glenn opened the scoring for the Andheri school in the 20th minute. But their joy was short-lived as St Mary's equalised through Mikail Kazi's goal in the 36th minute. Four minutes later, the Andheri side's Rajan Bobby scored a ghost goal in the 46th minute. Rajan tapped the ball into the post, but the ball bounced back and the linesman Cajetan Dias declared it a goal.
After the match, the Mazagaon coaches were seen arguing with the referee and questioned his decision about the crucial goal. The referee Jaoquim Varela has accused the Mazagaon school coaches' rude behaviour and the MSSA will take a decision later, said MSSA's Hon General Secretary Sebastian Fernandes. Earlier, St Francis D'Assisi (Borivali) beat St Stanislaus (Bandra) 1-0 thanks to Viren Mudaliar's goal.