Defending champions ONGC scored a hard fought 2-1 win against former champions Air India in an Elite Division match of the Rustomjee-MDFA League 2018-19 to continue their unbeaten run this season on Monday The much awaited derby match played at the Cooperage ground, saw Panvel based ONGC team stamp their authority from the outset and take firm control of the proceedings in the first half. ONGC took the lead when Abhijit Taware scored from a rebound in the 16th minute of an attempt by seasoned campaigner Himanshu Patil whose initial shot which was parried away by goalkeeper Aditya Mishra. ONGC quickly doubled their lead two minutes in to the second half through a swift counter-attacking move. Arif Shaikh set up his team’s consistent scorer Himanshu, who made the most of the opportunity with an open goal in front of him to double the lead.
Air India who missed the services number of players through injuries including their Navi Mumbai based skipper Vijith Shetty slowly found their groove following the introduction of Rinaldo Fernandes. The substitute combined so well with Shravan Shetty for the remainder of the match. Shravan who was fouled inside the box by Dhurwesh Nijap resulted in the Airmen being awarded a penalty. Rinaldo stepped up and found the back of the net to reduce the deficit by one goal in the 81st minute of the match Earlier ONGC’s Captain Fanai Lalmuanpuia under whose leadership the oilmen had won eight of their nine matches this season, once again played a pivotal role in the centre of the field and was the key link between the defense and the attack to once again ensured his team continue to occupy the top position in the league. Air India on the other hand are placed third currently.
Results (Elite Div): ONGC 2 (Abhijit Taware, Himanshu Patil) beat Air India 1 (Rinaldo Fernandes) (HT 1-0).