Non availability of the Central Railway sports ground for even one more day than March 6, compelled Nagpur District Football Association to play both the semi-finals of the First Division of the JSW League F o otbal l Championship, so as to host the title clash on Tuesday.
The result,ardent football fans were faced with no other option than to watch one of these in warm onset-of-the-summer conditions on Monday afternoon. All the same, both matches turned out to be quite a treat to watch except for a few glitches in officiating which marginally affected the final result,especially in the second match of the day, in which Big Ben Juniors beat Maverick Football Club 3-0, which oughttoread2-0,the last goal actually being gifted to Big Ben Juniors due to a lack of alertness on the part of assistant referee Naveen Dung Dung.
The assistant referee was involved in official ting two matches one after the other in warm conditions, which in turn could have affected his ability to judge in a fit and fair manner. However, Big Ben Juniors deserved to win, having generated the greater number of scoring opportunities sand capitalised on these twice at least.
This match though was the second for the day and judging by early moves, folks felt Big Ben Juniors would certainly lose,even if it was by a narrow margin.That they didn’t, was certainly creditable as their practice together as a team,resulting in better coordination and fitness certainly gave them the edge over their Maverick FC, who too laboured much but failed to find the net even once. During the first half of play, Maverick FC’s striker Charuksh Ingole came close to scoring thrice, but shot the ball over the cross piece twice and wide off the vertical post once, all three times from inside the penalty box. Big Ben Juniors’score dall their goals in the second half.Their first came off a direct free kick from the left-inlane by Piyush Ranade.
The ball descended deceptively at an angle in the 64th minute leaving Maverick’s somewhat diminutive goalkeeper Ankit Yadav no chance to reach for the ball as it kissed the cross-piece’s belly while entering the net. The hard working Mihir Baghele made it 2-0 in the 73rd minute beating Yadav in a one-on-one from just inside the goal area. It was more of a case of a defence lapse. The third goal was gifted by assistant referee Naveen Dung Dung. Big Ben Juniors’ Harsh Labade lofted the ball which struck the end of the crosspiece and bounced back straight over goalie Ankit Yadav’s skyward raised hands and came back into play. Assistant Referee Dung Dung read that as the ball had entered the goal after having struck the barand bounced back.
Caution/Expulsions:Maverick FC: Bhushan Khaukar(Red Card 80th min). Shashank Ubhate (Yellow Card 77th min). Bhandekar tricks inTimeFC’s 4-1 victory : More of a one-sided outing. Time FC 4 (Mahesh Pitlewad 40th min, Pranav Bhandekar40+1,50th,76thmins) beat Noble Sports Academy 1 (Aditya Shripatre 56th min). On Tuesday: Final: Big Ben JuniorsvsTimeFC,3p.m.Neither team’splayerswill be out on a one match suspension, making it a keen contest indeed.