Two horrendous errors by Mumbai FC custodian Sanjiban Ghosh enabled the AIFF’s experimental side Pailan Arrows win its opening I-League match 3-2 at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Saturday.
Up by a 34th minute strike from Holicharan Narzary, the AIFF team conceded two goals to N.D. Opara (39th) and James Singh (45) before recovering through a Milan Singh penalty conversion (54) and the winner from a Narzary strike (75).
The match was devoid of any enterprise or excitement as the two teams dished out very ordinary football on the opening day of the new I-League season. But for the three comical errors by the rival goalkeepers, the scoreline would not have looked so inflated.
Ghosh made a mess of a feeble grounder from Arrows’ Avinabo Bag which Narzary made use of to score the first goal. The Mumbai outfit then regrouped and attacked with verve.
Another goalkeeping error, this time from Arrows’ Ravi Kumar, enable Opara to equalise. Kumar’s clearance came off Haroon Ameri and the loose ball was slotted home.
James Singh’s pile-driver at the stroke of halftime found the mark to give Mumbai FC a 2-1 lead and a good frame of mind at the break.
The AIFF team turned the heat on in the second half with good wing play. As the pressure built on the Mumbai FC defence, Justin Stephen brought down striker Pranoy Haldar and the resultant penalty was converted by Milan Singh.
After Kumar parried a sharp header from Opara, Ghosh made his second error of the game. His attempted clearance went to the unmarked Narzary inside the box. The opportunity came as a boon for the young side as the striker did not make a mistake.
The result: Pailan Arrows 3 (Holicharan Narzary 34th, 75th, Milan Singh 54th) bt Mumbai FC 2 (N.D. Opara 39th, James Singh 45th).
Keywords: I-League football