Football legends Ryan Giggs and Hernan Crespo led from the front in Mumbai 5’s and Kolkata 5’s identical 4-2 wins over Chennai and Goa respectively in the inaugural Premier Futsal League that got off to a grand start at the floodlight Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor stadium here on Friday.
Giggs led by example as Mumbai put together a solid defence and gave Chennai a masterclass on counter-attack.
Giggs took the charge against the ‘Pele of Futsal’, Falcao, and came out on top to claim the first game of the inaugural tournament.
Giggs was with English club Manchester United for nearly three decades, but it was his debut on the futsal pitch. Mumbai 5’s strike force had the firepower of Giggs and Foglia, who won the ‘Best Futsal Player’ award in 2003.
Mumbai opened the scoring after they won a penalty. Sirilo’s handball allowed Foglia to step up and score a calm penalty sending the keeper the wrong way. In the first quarter, Chennai had the bulk of the chances but couldn’t back their flair play with accurate finishing.
The second quarter started badly for Chennai, going two goals down quickly. Mumbai robbed Chennai of possession and Angellot showed brilliant piece of ball control to leave the keeper on the floor and blasted the ball into open net to claim Mumbai 5’s third goal.
Chennai kept possession but Mumbai’s solid defence ensured they remain a step ahead in the second quarter. Mumbai were employing the classic counter tactic, breaking every time Chennai lost the ball. Falcao continued to display his full array of tricks but Mumbai kept hold of their 2-0 lead at half time.
It takes a minute for the course of the game to change in futsal, and Chennai almost got a goal back as Sirilo’s shot stung the bar and went out of play.
Giggs was seen in all his elements by the third quarter and produced the first nutmeg of Premier Futsal and showcased his class with a few no-look passes. The United legend set up Foglia for his second and Mumbai’s third on the night. He might have been out of play for a while, but did not look out of touch.
Mumbai 5’s kept stepping up gears as the game went on. Ramirez made it four with a wonderful side foot finish into the top corner. Chennai 5’s finally opened their account with Sirilo toe poking one in the back of the net, taking advantage of a miscommunication in Mumbai’s defence. Falcao pulled the second goal back as he thrashed one into the net after going past a couple of defenders.
At the end of the of the final whistle, Mumbai took home the first three points of Premier Futsal.