Mahindra United's young guns gave a good account of themselves and fired the Mumbai Red Devils to a solitary goal win over Union Bank of India (UBI) in an Elite Division match of the Mahindra Mumbai Football League at the Cooperage ground on Monday.
Coach Derrick Pereira fielded youngsters --- Dane Pereira, Keegan Pereira and Darren Caldeira in the starting line-up. He later introduced Craig D'Souza in the second session and they all did not disappoint. Dane scored from Craig's measured pass in the 60th minute to ensure the local giants finish at the top of Group 'B' with an all-win record.
Mahindra United held the upper hand and called the shots against the bankmen who despite their limitations put up a spirited fight and managed to make a couple of forays into the Mahindra United territory. The former champions Mahindra United went on the offensive and twice in quick succession had attempts at the rival citadel. In the very fifth minute Dane's header off Keegan's cross was cleared by Union Bank goalkeeper Kunal Sawant. Two minutes later Sawant again came to the rescue of his side when he blocked Karunakaran's try from close.
Union Bank striker Chetan Waghela had a great chance to opening the scoring in the 29th minute. Following a mis-kick by Mahindra United goalkeeper Amit Nanady the ball landed at the feet of Waghela, but his attempt narrowly missed the target.
After the change of ends, Mohd Rafi wasted a golden opportunity to break the deadlock. Rafi latched on to James Singh's through pass and sped towards the Union Bank goal but he failed to beat an alert UBI goalkeeper Sawant in the 46th minute. Four minutes later, UNI defender Rohit Kajania cleared from the goal line Darren's firm shot inside the penalty area.
Mahindras finally found success when Rafi from the left found Craig in the centre. The latter quickly switched the ball to an unmarked Dane on the right side of the UBI box. Dane did well to control the ball before firing past goalkeeper Sawant in the 60th minute.
Elite Division - Group 'B': Mahindra United 1 (Dane Pereira 60th minute) bt Union Bank of India 0.