Campion School's change of tactics after being 0-1 down, paid off yesterday as the Cooperage side registered a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Jamnabai Narsee (Juhu) in a do-or-die encounter to enter the semi-finals of the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) boys' U-16 Division I inter-school football tournament at Azad Maidan.
Campion players celebrate after scoring against Jamnabai Narsee at Azad Maidan yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble
Jamnabai needed a win to make it to the semis, while Campion would have scraped through with even a draw. With that in mind, Campion played the first half with a defensive mindset and were stunned in the 11th minute when Jamnabai Narsee's Prajin Gandhi scored via a Krish Kevlani assist. In the second-half, the Cooperage outfit asked their lanky defensive midfielder Rayan Badheka to play up front as they chased a draw.
Jay works his magic
That tactic worked as Rayan scored Campion's equaliser in the 32nd minute after some good work on the right flank from Jay Maliye. In the 58th minute, Jay dribbled passed two Jamnabai defenders and shot the ball from outside the box into the right corner to make it 2-1.
After the match, there was some more good news awaiting the Cooperage outfit. Campion school principal Paul Machado announced a day off for the entire team today. 14-year-old Jay said, “Though we wanted just a draw, our coach told us that we need to win. Till we didn't equalise, the pressure was on our team. Once we scored a goal, we relaxed a bit and started attacking and got the second goal too. The one day holiday was the icing on the cake.”
Defending champions St Lawrence (Kandivli) topped Pool 'A' with 19 points, while Don Bosco 'A' (Matunga) is second with 16 points. In Pool 'B', St Francis D'Assisi High School 'A' (Borivli) are table-toppers with 16 points while Campion 'A' (Cooperage) with 15 points are second. The first semi-final will be played between St Lawrence and Campion, while Don Bosco will take on D'Assisi on August 12 at Cooperage ground.