Pune: Pune stun defending champs Kolhapur

Hosts Pune registered the biggest win by upsetting the applecart of defending champions Kolhapur 2-0 to reach the final of the Western India Football Association (WIFA) Inter District Men’s (Open) Football Tournament 2022

Pune: Pune stun defending champs Kolhapur
Players of Pune and Kolhapur in action at the WIFA Inter District Championship 2022 in Pune

Pune: Hosts Pune registered the biggest win by upsetting the applecart of defending champions Kolhapur 2-0 to reach the final of the Western India Football Association (WIFA) Inter District Men’s (Open) Football Tournament 2022 at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mhalunge-Balewadi, on Monday.

The win for Pune also ended Kolhapur’s three-title run in the championship (2018, 2019, 2020) before the pandemic put a stop to the tournament tournament before the restart this year.

In the other semfinal, Nagpur fought off a stiff challenge from Mumbai via the tie-breaker to set up a summit clash with Pune on Tuesday. Both teams played out a 1-1 full time draw before Nagpur prevailed 5-4 in the tie-breaker.

The day began with the face-off between Pune and Kolhapur. Following the initial possessional game that both teams maintained, Pune broke the deadlock capatalising on a defensive lapse.

A free-kick earned in the middle of the park had skipper Shrikant Molangiri find Satish Hawaldar on the right wing, who in turn did well to send in a low cross that Sudeesh M (31st) did well to drive home.

Pune led 1-0 at half time.

Changing ends, Pune added another this time by Sumit Bhandari (85th). Receiving a pass by Pratik Patil, Sumit’s right footed try was unlucky with the ball crashing onto the horizontal, however on the second instance Sumit was on target slamming home.

NAGPUR STAGE COMEBACK WIN

In the second semifinal, Nagpur came from behind to down Mumbai 1-1 (5-4).

In a tight game, Mumbai took the lead through Johnson Mathew (81st), but Nagpur fought back to equalise a minute from regulation time via Mehul Sindram (89th) and push the game into the tie-breaker. 

For Nagpur, Stanley Peter, Sagar Chintala, Nirmal Munda, Sufiyan Abdul Shaikh, Mohammed Huzaif scored all five while Mumbai responded with Himanshu Patil, Nitesh Munde, Arif Shaikh, Sunny Thakur netting. 

Nagpur's goalkeeper Owais Khan saved Mumbai's Umesh Perembara attempt to help his team into the final. 

RESULTS

SF-1: Pune: 2 (Sudeesh M 31st; Sumit Bhandari 85th) bt Kolhapur: 0  

SF-2: Nagpur: 1 (5) (Mehul Sindram 89th; Stanley Peter, Sagar Chintala, Nirmal Munda, Sufiyan Abdul Shaikh, Mohammed Huzaif) bt Mumbai: 1 (4) (Johnson Mathew 81st; Himanshu Patil, Nitesh Munde, Arif Shaikh, Sunny Thakur)