The red-clad supporters weren’t hard to spot even in the garish criss-cross of flashlights. In the same way as the chorus of ‘Giggsy’, and ‘Scholesy’ was to dim not in the din of music. Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes were to play on the second day of Premier Futsal at the Nehru indoor stadium and the prospect of watching not one, but two Manchester United legends was a prospect alluring enough for the fans of the English club to turn out in huge numbers.
But they would’ve been disappointed to see the Giggs-led Mumbai 5s lose in the first match.
The first quarter, in which Ramirez later felt “Mumbai missed a lot of chances”, was goalless. There were two close chances of note; for Mumbai, Giggs’s casual left-footed tuck from the right was saved while Kochi 5s’ Deives Moraes took a long, futile shot at goal from right half-court.
Mumbai held the ball more, passed around, to probe keen and explore an opening, should one arise. Ramirez’s baleful surge off a stolen pass — he cut into Chaguinha’s pass to Michel Salgado — was promptly stalled.
Kochi hit back with frequent forays off its better possession in the second quarter that the opposition often had to head to the backline to block, tackle, and retrieve the ball; an instance of note was Charanpreet’s sprint back to slide and deny Salgado who had streamed in to strike from the right.
Salgado, who took a free-kick of no consequence, stood out with his energy, court coverage, and bobbing mop of hair.
Both teams scored a goal each in the third quarter as Deives scored off a penalty for Kochi before Angellot’s strike for Mumbai.
The decisive last half was goal-heavy. It saw Kochi score three — one each for Gekabert, Deives and Salgado — for a 4-1 victory.
The second match, between Kolkata 5s and Bengaluru 5s, was quick adrift in that Jonathan scored off Scholes’s pass in the first 10 minutes, for Bengaluru to go one-up. Kolkata pulled back via Pula’s strike in the second quarter.
Goal seeking was streamlined in the third quarter. Both teams spread out, built and pressed better for chances with passes aplenty. But neither could break-free, prompting Kolkata’s glovesman to have a run-in, and a crack at goal. Desperation sans wild, random attempts marked the last quarter. For Kolkata, Scholes’s strike off Neto’s pass from close in front of the goal was blocked. As time trailed off, thickly tense and fast, Mumbai earned a free-kick which Neto failed to convert for a drawn contest.
The results: Kochi 5s 4 (Deives Moraes 2, Gekabert, Michel Salgado) bt Mumbai 5s 1 (Angellot); Kolkata 5s 1 (Pula) drew with Bengaluru 5s 1 (Jonathan).