The Top Division of Mumbai hasn’t failed to dazzle with goals coming in from all directions….
The Mumbai District Football Association’s Mumbai Football League Elite Division kicked off on the 29th of September, 2017 and most of the teams have now played two games in the League. The Elite Division is the top Division of Mumbai and is played by professional and institutional teams from across the city. Read the preview of this year’s edition here.
The first match of the MDFA Elite Division was played on the 29th of September between Union Bank of India and the Western Railway Sports Club team. Both teams have suffered from mediocre displays over the years and wanted to get off to a flying start. The match was a slugfest in midfield with intense tackling and physicality. Following Rueben Dsouza’s first-half strike and Dion Menezes’s injury-time tap-in, Union Bank of India won the first match of the season in style. Western Railway did score through a Scott D’Souza penalty in the 81st minute, but it served only as a consolation.
The 2nd game of the Elite Division saw another intense and physical clash between the Western Railways SC against the Karnataka Sports Association. Western Railway left no stone unturned in trying to win the match from the first whistle. They raided the Karnataka defence time and again and pressed them hard to the point of breaking. The Karnataka team did manage to pull one back but the match ended 2-1 with three points going to the Western Railways.
The new kids on the block, Century Rayon were the next to have a go against old war-horses, Mumbai Customs. Century Rayon led 2-0 for almost an hour thanks to strikes from Thatcham Vaschi and Thatcham Vaschi either side of the half. The Custom’s team also lost their goalkeeper Liyaz Kaya to a red card but this did not break their spirit and they fought back hard to win the match 3-2 with goals coming in from John Coutinho, Francisco Salin and Nazeef. This match, too, was decided only in the injury time.
Next was the mighty Air India, who began their campaign against Elite Division debutants, Mumbai Strikers. Air India showed exactly why they were champions of Elite Division last year against the newly promoted side and also showed the wide chasm of talent that exists between the Super Division and the Elite Division. The only positive for the Strikers in their 8-1 mauling was the goal scored by Ravish Dsouza in the 18th minute. For Air India, the routine demolition was carried out at the hands of Pratik Koli, Aron D’Costa, players who scored two goals each. Rinaldo Fernandes, Ashkar CV, Santosh Koli and Kiran Pandhare added to the scoreline.
There was no lack of goals in the next fixture as Karnataka Sports Association took on Union Bank of India, who were riding high on their first match victory. The Karnataka team managed to take a point home after trailing for 2/3rd of the game that witnessed incessant domination by Union Bank of India. Ranjeet Pandre, Shannon Pereira and Scott D’Souza led the scorer list for Union Bank of India while Nascimento Santiago scored twice and Tarique Ansari added the third for Karnataka Sporting Association.
Defending Champions Air India played and won their second match of the season against a tricky opponent in the form of Central Bank of India. The goals were restricted to the first half but the sublime dominance of the Champions lasted throughout the match. Central Bank managed to open the scoring with a good strike from the spot by Kuldeep Maschi but it was soon eclipsed by Santosh Koli and Pratik Koli, putting Air India into the lead within few minutes of each other. Air India, in the second half, went on to dominate the midfield and prevented Central Bank from playing their game and took home the three points.
The most exciting match of any league is when two under-dogs clash. This happened when new-comers Century Rayon and Mumbai Strikers clashed against each other. Both teams knew, going into this match, that it would be their best opportunity to score three points. Century Rayon came on top of this clash with a 2-0 win over their fellow minnows, striking two goals in the last fifteen minutes of the game. Warschei Kaschung and Lyin were the scorers in the game.
As of now, Air India sit comfortably on top of the table with two wins from two and a massive goal advantage. Union Bank sit second after their gritty performances against Western Railway and Karnataka Sports Association. Some of the fixtures have been rescheduled due to various reasons including some professional teams not having finalised their squad yet and thus, many teams haven’t yet had their first taste of game time this season.