Customs go through in Nadkarni Cup
Mumbai Customs came from a goal behind to beat Central Railways 4-2 in the semi-final of the 105th Nadkarni Cup at Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers (RCF) ground, Chembur yesterday.
The Customs will face debutants Dodsal FC in the final, who spanked seven goals past a hapless Western Railways in the other semi-final on Monday.
After squandering two good chances in the opening five minutes, Customs conceded an early penalty in the 16th minute for a handball. Railways’ Karim Sheikh stepped up and rolled the ball into the net to put his team ahead, before Hekmat Singh equalised on the half-hour mark. Customs gained confidence from their goal and constantly raided the Railways’ box, before scoring a second via striker Francisco Salin with seconds to go in the first half.
Salin almost got another goal to his name minutes into the second half. However, Mathias Coutinho scored a curled left-footed shot a couple of minutes later to put Customs 3-1 up. Things were getting murkier for Railways after defender Robin Joseph got red card for a second offense with 25 minutes to go.
Down to ten men and two goals down, it seemed all but over for the Railways before Sheikh doubled his tally in the 77th minute to give his team some hope. A tense last few minutes ensued before Customs’ Vaibhav Karpe finished it off with a goal seconds before the final whistle.
Coutinho, who had a goal and two assists to his name was pleased with his team’s performance.
“I was injured for the last month and started practice this week only. So it feels good to have scored a goal for my team,” he said.
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe
Dhanraj Pillay relives Indian Hockey's dream run of 1998!