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Kesari Karandak: Indrayani’s hit’n’run gameplan wins title in Pune

Throughout the tournament, Indrayani have been slow starters, sitting back for the first spell of the contest to gauge the opponent’s game plan. Parshuramiyans, despite the ample chances, found themselves on the wrong side of a 1-0 scoreline in the final

pune Updated: Feb 27, 2019 16:32 IST
Pranav Shahaney
Pranav Shahaney
Hindustan Times, Pune
Parshuramiyans (orange) in action against Indrayani FC in the final match of the Kesari Karandak tournament at the Chandrashekar Agashe college ground on Tuesday.(RAVINDRA JOSHI/HT PHOTO)

Fans in attendance hoping to see a vintage attacking display from Parshuramiyans were left disappointed as Indrayani nullified their threat perfectly to lift the Kesari Karandak title at the Chandrashekar Agashe College ground with a 3-0 victory in the final.

A Jagath Raj brace and Karamjeet Saroj’s 62nd-minute effort overpowered the Parshuramiyans outfit in an exciting encounter on Tuesday evening.

Throughout the tournament, Indrayani had been slow starters, sitting back for the first spell of the contest to gauge the opponent’s game plan.

On Tuesday, it was a similar performance as for the first 15 minutes they barely had a scuff at the opponent’s goal and were content in playing long balls straight from their defence into the final third.

While the football may have been hard on the eye, it was precisely what Indrayani coach Alok Sharma called for. They appeared extremely tidy at the back and whenever called into action, their goalkeeper Priyatosh Chaturvedi made saves to ensure his clean sheet remained intact.

After soaking all the pressure during the initial stages, it was inevitable that the Indrayani outfit would now look to carve out chances for themselves and, after two close shaves, they were finally rewarded for their efforts when Jagath Raj capitalised on a defensive gaffe to score from 10 yards out.

The defenders began playing the blame game as they let Raj not only intercept the ball, but also fire home a shot on goal that should’ve been blocked rather than being deflected back into the goal.

Parshuramiyans, despite the ample number of chances created, found themselves on the wrong side of a 1-0 scoreline, but always looked in firm control of the match. They enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the first half and also won a number of key duels in midfield to put the opposition on the back foot.

However, they failed to open their tally and went into the break trailing. In the second, one team changed their tactics which towards the end proved to be a masterclass by the eventual winners.

Parshuramiyans chose to continue playing the same way with the same attacking quartet on the pitch who continued to disappoint. From needless overhead kicks to cheeky flicks and wayward shooting, their attacking prowess constantly failed to reap any dividend.

After overloading the final third with 7-8 players it seemed like they were getting back in the game, but Indrayani’s devastating pace on the counter-attack saw them catch a number of players out of position and that eventually proved decisive in shaping the outcome of the match.

Both Raj and Saroj scored similar goals on the break as they exploited the lack of pace in the opposition full-backs. The duo, starting as forwards, often drifted wide to create room for the midfielders and wingers to crowd the penalty area – another example of Sharma’s tactical brilliance on the evening.

Come to the full-time whistle, the Parshuramiyan players knew that their lack of composure in the final third coupled by goalkeeper Chaturvedi’s prolific displays is what ended up costing them the match and also the opportunity to defend the title they worked tirelessly to capture in 2018.

Player of the match

Priyatosh Chaturvedi, goalkeeper, Indrayani FC: “Yes, I am happy with my performance tonight keeping out a good attacking team like Parshuramiyans, but I think the defence must also get the credit for putting in a solid show. I’m happy with the saves I made, but I would’ve liked to play more with my legs and pass the ball around, but because of the surface, we were advised against it.”

Coach quotes

Sambhaji Wagh, coach, Parshuramiyans: “It was bad luck at the end of the day for us. We created a number of chances at regular intervals, but our end product was not there. I also think that Indrayani got their tactics spot on and caught us on a bad day.”

Alok Sharma, coach, Indrayani FC: “I am very happy with our performance today. In the first half, we played a number of aerial balls and weren’t able to create too much because our opponents were good in the air. So, we decided to play a ground game in the second half and that worked very well.”

First Published: Feb 27, 2019 16:32 IST