St Francis D'Assisi High School (Borivli) took full advantage of their training sessions in mucky conditions to beat Campion (Cooperage) 2-0 in a Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) boys' U-16 Division I inter-school football match at Azad Maidan yesterday.
Michael Abhishek (green jersey) chips the ball into the Campion goal over goalkeeper Aryan Jhaveri at Azad Maidan. Pic/Atul Kamble
With incessant rains making the ground conditions almost unplayable, the Borivli outfit always had the upper hand going into the match, thanks to the practice drills devised by coach Thomas Barretto at their training ground.
After 20 minutes of play, the game was halted for 15 minutes due to heavy rains with both teams tied at 0-0. In the 25th minute, D'Assisi striker Michael Abhishek opened the scoring with an audacious lob over Campion goalkeeper Aryan Jhaveri from close range. With Campion struggling all through the match, D'Assisi went into half-time leading 1-0.
In the second half, the Borivli school continued to dominate the game, with the defence not allowing Campion strikers any chance to come near the goal. In the 35th minute, Johnson Mathews tapped a pass from Kevin Shah into the goal to round off the tally.
"Today we won the match because we practice in rains. Our coach taught us that in such conditions when the ball doesn't travel swiftly, we should just toe the ball to the player who can score. That's what we did and we won," said 14-year-old Johnson.
D'Assisi coach Barreto said, "I was not worried about the rains. My only concern was about the scoring goals. Though I taught them how to play in mucky conditions, this was a real test for them. I am glad they played well."
Praising D'Assisi, Campion coach Wilfred Alva said, "D'Assisi is a very talented side and they deserved to win today. Our boys struggled to play in such ground conditions, as the ball was not moving. After the play was stopped, they lost momentum."
Meanwhile, in an MSSA U-16 Div-III encounter, a fine hat-trick by Vedant Salunke saw Balmohan Vidyamandir English (Dadar) thump Arya Vidyamandir (Bandra) by 6-0. Besides Salunkhe's hat-trick, Vedant Divekar and Aryan Patke completed the rout by scoring a goal each.