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Striker-turned-goalkeeper Muskaan Mehra 'saves' the day

Forward turns goalkeeper to effect two saves in the penalty shoot-out to help Cathedral & John Connon School (Fort) beat Bombay Scottish (Mahim) 4-2 in semi-final

Riding on Muskaan Mehra's heroics under the bar, Cathedral & John Connon School (Fort) beat Bombay Scottish (Mahim) 4-2 in the tie-breaker to enter the final of the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) girls' U-16 Division I inter-school football tournament at Azad Maidan yesterday.

Cathedral & John Connon School’s Muskaan Mehra (left) vies with Bombay Scottish's Taira Engineer (centre) during their U-16 Division I semi-final at   Azad Maidan. Pic/Suresh KK
Cathedral & John Connon School’s Muskaan Mehra (left) vies with Bombay Scottish's Taira Engineer (centre) during their U-16 Division I semi-final at Azad Maidan. Pic/Suresh KK

The 15-year-old started off as a goalkeeper for the U-14 side, before her coach asked her to make the switch to being a striker two years ago. Yesterday, when the match went to the tie-breaker after both teams were goalless at the end of regulation time, Muskaan replaced Liyanne Dhalla as the goalkeeper.

The move paid off as the Colaba resident effected two saves — the first with a dive on the left to block Sonjana Dave's attempt and the second a simple catch off Trisha Thakkar's spot-kick — to help Cathedral & John Connon School enter the Division I final.

Devangi Maheshwari, Anokhee Bhattacharya, Aneesha Mehta and Siara Shankardass all scored for Cathedral & John Connon in the tie-breaker, while Rhea Gupta and Kashish Parmar also scored for Bombay Scottish.
"I started playing as a goalkeeper since my U-14 days but then I was asked to play as a striker for my team. But whenever our game plays a tie-breaker, I stand as the goalkeeper," said Muskaan.

The Fort outfit's coach Deepak Narwade, praising Muskaan's performance, said: "She (Muskaan) is confident of effecting saves whenever we play in a tie-breaker and that is the most important thing we need at that moment." Bombay Scottish coach Shruti Naricar admitted, "They were a better team, they dominated the whole game and deserved to win."

In the final, Cathedral & John Connon School will play against Dhirubhai Ambani International School (BKC) at Cooperage today.

JB Petit in Div II final
Meanwhile, in a MSSA girls' Division II semi-final, JB Petit High School Girls (Fort) registered a 2-1 win over Canossa High School (Mahim) with Anuskha Sanghvi and Oorvi Yarnal scoring for the Fort outfit while Akanksha Akre reduced the deficit for Canossa. JB Petit will take on Mary Immaculate Girls (Borivli) in the Division II final today at Cooperage.

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