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Mumbai FC defeat Air India as ONGC Crowned Champions

A 93rd minute strike by midfielder, Rohit Mirza helped Mumbai FC prevail over Air India to finish runners up in 2015/16 MDFA Elite Division League. Mumbai FC finished the league with 25 points, same as Air India but a superior goal difference meant that they end the season on the 2nd position. ONGC FC were crowned as the champions after they finished with 26 points in 11 games.

Air India FC only needed a draw to leap frog ONGC FC and defend their title as they were on 25 points after 10 games. Mumbai FC, on the other hand were playing for the 2nd point as they had amassed 23 points from their 10 matches.

Air India began the match at a frantic pace but slowly gave away an initially built momentum to Mumbai F.C.; the former showed encouraging signs, in the opening 5 minutes of the match, but their decision to play Mumbai F.C. on the break gave the I-League outfit a complete hold on the proceedings.

Mumbai F.C. came close to scoring an opening goal on a number of occasions throughout the first-half, but timely last-ditched tackles and blocks from a resolute Air India backline kept Mumbai F.C. at bay. Been playing on the back foot for almost 40 minutes, Air India were desperate to score a goal sooner-or-later in the match to avoid conceding a goal, at any given time in the match.

Throughout the first-half, Mumbai F.C. clearly remained the better and dominant side amongst the two teams, who combined with sleek passing moves and positional play outperformed their counterparts, but failed to provide any real zeal in front of goal.

Air India’s lack of pressure on the ball around the 18 yard box gave Mumbai F.C. ample of time to dictate the tempo of the game, and although Air India proved to be threatening on the break, at large they did not benefit enough from the two strikers, who failed to support their team’s long-ball approach.

By the time the first-45 minutes concluded, Air India seemed to poised in a good position with the score at 0-0 to clinch the title away from O.N.G.C., although their current position seemed certain to shift if a change in the game-plan wasn’t on the cards.

With the start of the second-half, Mumbai F.C. picked-up from where they left the first-45 minutes. Having completely dominated proceedings in the game, Mumbai F.C. failed to create any real chance when it entered in the final-third area of the field.

With the first-half reaching its midway point, Air India at times were being toyed with by Mumbai F.C. as they looked to pounce on one mistake Mumbai F.C. made and pick their opportunity on the break. But, that didn’t come soon as Air India became increasingly frustrated with lack of a proper outlook to attack under pressure.

The match went into stoppage time with both team unable to disturb the opposition's net and a goalless draw looking a real possibility, but fate had different plans. Eric Brown's long ball on the right flank was aptly received by Jayesh Rane whose cross inside the box was headed by Taisuke but could only hit the woodwork. The ball ricocheted and landed in front of incoming Rohit Mirza, who lobbed the ball into the nets to give his side the lead and eventually the match.

The goal meant, ONGC held their first position (26 points) with Mumbai FC finishing second and Air India third after both the having 25 points each with the former having a superior goal difference.

With inputs from and