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MSSA U-14: St Francis D'Assisi lose semis, but win final!

D'Assisi win protest against U-14 finalists St Joseph's (Wadala); go on to beat St Stanislaus to win title

St Francis D'Assisi 'A' (Borivli) won the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) boys' U-14 inter-school Division I football title in a dramatic fashion.

St Francis D'Assisi celebrate their goal against St Stanislaus in the U-14 inter-school football final at Azad Maidan yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble
St Francis D'Assisi celebrate their goal against St Stanislaus in the U-14 inter-school football final at Azad Maidan yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble 

St Francis arrived at yesterday's final all pumped up after winning the overage protest against St Joseph's (Wadala) that they had lodged after their 0-1 semi-final loss on Monday.

The Borivli school ensured they made the most of the summit clash opportunity after beating St Stanislaus 'A' (Bandra) 4-3 via tie-breaker at Azad Maidan yesterday.

Keegan Pinto opened the scoring for Stanislaus in the very first minute. The Bandra outfit's happiness was short-lived as D'Assisi's Dhiren Patni equalised in the 12th minute.

With no team finding the net in the second half, the result was decided via tie-breaker. In the shoot-out, Kaustubh Satam, Adnan Shaikh and skipper Johnson Mathews scored for D'Assisi while only Josiah Noronha and Marven Pereira were on target for St Stanislaus.

Overage protest
D'Assisi had lodged overage protest on two St Joseph's players — Naresh Bohara and Silvester Serrao. "We felt some St Joseph's players were overage. It was only on Wednesday we got a confirmation from the MSSA that we would be playing in the final. Justice has come at the right time," D'Assisi coach Agnelo Picardo told mid-day.

MSSA president and football secretary Rev Fr Jude Rodrigues said St Joseph's have been demoted to Division IV from Division I. However, Fr Rodrigues clarified that it was not the overage issue, which resulted in a stern action.

The real issue
"The two players mentioned in the letter were not overage. But in the process, we found that St Joseph's player Bijin Biju played three knockout matches without being registered with the MSSA. Hence, we decided to relegate the team to Division IV from next season," said Fr Rodrigues.

St Joseph's coach Tony D'sa did not respond to calls. Meanwhile, St Anne's (Malad) beat defending champions Don Bosco 'B' (Matunga) 2-0 to win the boys U-14 Division II title. Becham Rodrigues and Varun D'Souza scored a goal each for St Anne's.

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