Riding on goalkeeper Chris Johnson's heroics, Don Bosco (Matunga) defended the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) boy's U-10 inter-school football title at Azad Maidan yesterday.
Don Bosco players celebrate their win over Campion in the MSSA U-10 inter-school football final at Azad Maidan yesterday and (inset) Chris Johnson. Pics/Suresh KK
Although Liam Pinheiro gave Don Bosco a lead in the 10th minute, it was goalkeeper Chris' three crucial saves that helped them register a 1-0 win over Campion (Cooperage).
The win ensured that Don Bosco's won fourth title in four years. Liam stepped up in the final after Don Bosco's key players — Harsh Palande, who scored 14 goals in the tournament, and skipper Keith Fernandes were off-colour.
Campion came back strongly in the second half with Vivaan Shah, Rayyan Lala and Shivansh Khandelwal coming close to finding the net, but Chris' brilliant work under the bar denied them any opportunity to equalise.
Chris is glad that his team scored in regulation time. "Had the match gone into penalties, we would have lost the match," said nine-year-old Chris, who conceded only two goals in the tournament.
Despite the win, Don Bosco coach Leslie Machado wasn't impressed. "I felt we played under pressure. Harsh and Keith didn't play their natural game. If not for Liam's goal, the match could have gone either way," he said.
U-8 team win play-off
Meanwhile, in the boy's U-8 play-off, Don Bosco (Matunga) defeated St Joseph (Malad) 5-0 earlier in the day. Skipper Zash Ferro and Vignesh Shetty scored two goals each while Andron Christopher found the back of the net once.