Striker Abhishek Yadav scored a brace as champion outfit Mahindra United registered a 3-1 win over a spirited Western Railway in an Elite Division Group 'B' match of the Mahindra-Mumbai Football League at the Cooperage ground on Sunday.
Yadav scored on either side of half time and also played an important role in the opener—a fantastic effort from youngster Adnan Rahimtullah in the second minute.
PV Vinoy got the lone goal for the railwaymen in the fourth minute.
Mahindras playing after a long lay-off as several of the players were away doing duty for their respective states in the Santosh Trophy that concluded last month, lacked fluency and were not all that impressive.
However, their 19-year-old striker Adnan, who started for the first time, spearheading the attack along with Yadav instantly made an impact on the big stage when he found the target in the second minute.
Following S Venkatesh's free-kick, Yadav relayed the ball to Adnan inside the rival area. The enthusiastic striker produced a peach of an effort with a deft left-footed placement past Western goalkeeper Nitesh Thakur.
However, Mahindras' joy was short-lived as Western rocked their citadel two minutes later. Reuben D'Souza made a good run down the right before advancing into the Mahindra penalty area and sent a low pass for Vinoy, who made no mistake in dispatching the ball home.
Those two early strikes set the tone for an exciting contest. Both teams continued to play an attacking game and were always in the hunt for goals, creating some well carved out moves.
Mahindras managed to regain the lead when Yadav did well to reach the end of Keegan Pereira's square pass from the right before taking a shot, which went in off goalkeeper Thakur in the 38th minute. Just before the breather Yadav was unlucky to see his attempt deflect off a defender for an abortive corner.
Western tried their best to find the equalier but with striker Reuben carrying a groin strain they ran out of steam midway through the second session.
Venkatesh came close to adding his name on the scoresheet but his chip narrowly sailed over the horizontal bar in the 54th minute.
Mahindras got their third goal on the stroke of the final whistle when Yadav nodded home James Singh's flag-kick from the right.