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Navy sink WR 1-0 to defend Independence Cup football title

Indian Navy defended the Independence Cup football title by beating Western Railway 1-0 at St Xavier's ground, Parel yesterday. Navy forward Sabariyar Britto scored the all-important goal in the second half.

Members of Navy team celebrate their win over Western Railway in the Independence Cup at the St Xavier’s ground yesterday. Pic/Sameer Abedi
Members of Navy team celebrate their win over Western Railway in the Independence Cup at the St Xavier’s ground yesterday. Pic/Sameer Abedi 

It was Western Railway who created more chances and dominated proceedings before the interval. But Navy's defenders and goalkeeper Sumesh PS ensured they did not lose the initiative. Sumesh brought about a brilliant save off Lineker Machado in the fifth minute.

Navy showed more intent after the break and were rewarded for their effort when Britto struck eight minutes into the half. He made the most of goalkeeper Grinto Antao's fumble and scored
the winner.

Navy were awarded Rs 40,000 for their win, while Western received Rs 25,000. Air India, who finished third, won Rs 15,000.

Navy coach PV Abhilash said it wasn't an easy final to win. "Both teams played really well. If not for that goal, the result would have been decided via tiebreaker. Western Railway played really well today," he said.

However, Abhilash hoped that the organisers Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) would provide better facilities to teams in future.

"The tournament should be played at Cooperage and not St Xavier's ground. The ground is not levelled properly. Also, teams are not given separate changing rooms. I know that renovation work is on, but a tent could be built near the ground."

AI midfielder Vijith Shetty loses expensive phone
Air India midfielder Vijith Shetty's phone went missing from the St Xavier's ground in Parel yesterday. After his team beat Mumbai Customs 1-0 to finish third in the MDFA-organised Independence Cup, he went to pick up his belongings and discovered his phone was missing. "Initially, I thought it was a prank by my teammates. But when I took my friend's phone to call my own number it was not reachable. My phone cost Rs 40,000. It's really sad that somebody would do such a thing," he said.

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