MSSA: Sai Sankhe high for Arya Vidya Mandir
Sankhe then performed goalkeeper's duties during the tie-breaker and scored one too
Showcasing her class yet again, Sai Sankhe dished out another impressive performance and guided Arya Vidya Mandir (Juhu) to a 5-4 win via penalty shootout over Apostolic Carmel (Bandra) in the semi-final of the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA)-organised U-16 girls' Div-I football tournament at Cooperage ground on Saturday.
Producing an equaliser just before half-time enabled the Juhu outfit to finish regulation time with a 1-1 draw. The lanky striker then performed goalkeeper's duties during the tie-breaker and scored one too. Vania Nagpal, Advaita De and Lakshmi Sriram were the others who found the target for Arya Vidya Mandir. For Apostolic, Keisha Fernandes, skipper Ash D'Silva and Lael Rego could hit the target.
The Juhu girls now face Mary Immaculate (Borivli) in the title clash on Monday.
The game began on a high note when, in the opening minute, Sai carried the ball inside the box and passed it to Advaita, who was positioned well in front of the post. But she failed to take advantage of it and missed the target. Thereafter, both teams fought hard amidst heavy rain, which made them put in an extra efforts to make the ball travel on the wet turf. Riya D'Souza took the charge of the ball in the eighth minute and breached the opposition's defence to score a goal which put Apostolic in the lead (1-0). At the other end, Sai was constantly trying to create opportunities for the Juhu team but due to lack of support, couldn't manage to finish things properly.
The Juhu outfit's wait for a goal ended just three minutes before the break when in the 22nd minute, Vania directed the ball cleverly towards Sai inside the penalty area. The skipper smashed it into the post as the action-packed first half ended at 1-1.
Igor Pinto, Apostolic's assistance coach, felt his side failed to capitalise on the goal-scoring opportunities they received in the first-half. "The first half was evenly poised with both sides having chances to score. However, I think we were more dominant and created more chances. Had we finished properly, we could have scored at least three goals in the first half itself," Pinto said.
Same jersey number, no problem
Two Apostolic players — Keisha and Lael — were seen in action donning the same jersey number — seven. Lael, whose original Jersey No. is 17, was wearing Keisha's attire.
"We played an U-17 District Sports Office game yesterday [on Friday]. It is there where this mix-up happened. One of our girls, who is not playing here, took away Lael's jersey. We informed the match officials about it before the start of the game," Pinto explained. "Players with same jersey number can't play but they [Apostolic] informed MSSA and us [referees] and also mentioned jersey numbers in the team line-up, so we allowed them to play,"one of the referees told mid-day.
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