MSSA U-16 Div III: Our Lady of Health beat Thakur Vidya Mandir 1-0

Aug 09, 2018, 08:09 IST | Gordon D'Costa

Goalkeeper Gokul comes up with some brilliant saves including one off a penalty kick as Our Lady of Health beat Thakur Vidya Mandir 1-0

MSSA U-16 Div III: Our Lady of Health beat Thakur Vidya Mandir 1-0
Our Lady of Health striker Aayush Chandan (left) and 'keeper Gokul Nair celebrate their team’s win over Thakur Vidya Mandir in the MSSA U-16 Div III match at Azad Maidan yesterday. Pics/Suresh Karkera

Donning the goalkeeper's gloves for the first time, Gokul Nair did an exceptional job under the bar for Our Lady of Health (Sahar). He showed fine anticipation and excellent reflexes as he produced two fantastic saves, one from the penalty spot and one from open play in the first half. Those two efforts from Gokul and teammate Aayush Chandan's superb goal ensured a 1-0 win for the Sahar schoolboys against Thakur Vidya Mandir (Kandivli) in a boys' U-16 Div III match of the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) inter-school football tournament at Azad Maidan yesterday.

"I am playing for the school football team for the first time. I used to play with friends in the neighbourhood and enjoyed playing as a goalkeeper, but I had never played a competitive match on a football field. One day, when I was watching my classmates practice for the school team, a sudden spark stirred my interest and I decided to give it a try. I was lucky to break into the team as it did not have a goalkeeper," Gokul admitted.

Balmohan's 'keeper Aryan Penta
Balmohan's 'keeper Aryan Penta

When asked about how he managed to stop Tanish Shiriskar's penalty midway through the first half, Gokul said, "I read his bluff. He kept looking to my right trying to indicate that he is targeting that direction, but I was clever enough not to be fooled and anticipated correctly. I moved to my left and blocked his shot." Gokul later denied Tanish again, when he covered the angle well and palmed down a fierce shot from the striker before making a calm collection. Besides those two efforts, Gokul made many more saves to keep his citadel intact.

Inspired by Gokul's heroics, Aayush, from one brilliant moment, scored the winner. He chased down Omkar Katre's forward pass and turned defender Aarya Kotian inside-out before beating rival goalkeeper Sujal Mudaliar with a perfect left-footed chip to the top far corner in the second minute of stoppage time. Meanwhile, in another match, another goalkeeper, Aryan Penta of Balmohan English (Dadar) also had an outstanding game and helped his school force a goalless draw against St Paul's (Dadar). Aryan showed fine athleticism and looked sharp and alert throughout the match while his goal was under constant pressure, and came up with some timely saves. In another match, St Xavier's (Bhandup) scored once in each half to overcome Rustomjee International (Dahisar) 2-1. Strikers Vivek Tiwari and Shaun D'Souza scored for the winners, while Tayshette Soham scored for Rustomjee.

Today's MSSA U-16 Div I final postponed
The boys' U-16 Div I final to be played between St Mary's SSC School (Mazagaon) and Dominic Savio School (Andheri) today, has been postponed in view of the statewide Maratha Bandh called. MSSA football secretary Sebastian Fernandes said that the final will now be played on August 15 at 3pm at Azad Maidan.

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