A resolute DSK Shivajians tasted their first victory of the season with a 1-0 win over cross-state rivals Mumbai FC in the Hero I-League at the Balewadi Stadium, here on Sunday.
Douhou Pierre’s strike on the 21-minute mark proved to be sufficient for the Pune-based outfit. The home side began this crunch encounter making a total of five changes from the side that was humiliated by the defending champions Mohun Bagan only a week ago..
Shivajians, against the run of play, had their first big chance of the outset materialize into a goal. In the 20th minute, an exquisite pass from the middle of the park found Douhou Pierre in yards of space.
The Ivorian took the ball in his stride and smashed the ball into the net to score Shivajians first goal of the season. Moments later, Rafi had another telling opportunity, but his luck was out as the ball flew over the crossbar.
There were few more half chances after the breakthrough, but the score at half-time was 1-0 in favour of the Shivajians. In the second period, the Mumbai side kept most of the possession and were convincing with their forward passes.
Their striker Eric Brown almost put them in the lead, but DSK keeper Subrata Paul made a great save from point-blank range to deny the striker.
The home side were having to give away possession and then play on the counter-attack. Much to their delight, Prakash Thorat had a golden opportunity to seal the game in the 65th minute, but rather than squaring it to an unmarked Douhou Pierre, he went for glory and made a colossal mess out of it.
Another golden opportunity fell to the visitors in the 77th minute. Captain Taisuke Matsugae controlled the ball with easy and fired a thundering shot towards Subrata s goal.
The shot beat the goalkeeper and it also beat the goal, as it came back off the post. An exceptional team buildup lacked the killer finish that would bring Mumbai back on track.
In the final minutes of the game, Shivajians moved to a rather defensive setup, parking the bus on a number of occasions. The centre-back pairing of Haroon Amiri and Don Bosco Fernandes were alert and agile throughout the course of the game and played a key role in their side s performance on the day.
Mumbai FC had a number of chances late on in this one, but the Shivajians keeper was up to the ask whenever called upon and had an exceptional ninety minutes.