The opening edition of the Premier Futsal exploded to life in its opening match. Ryan Giggs’ Mumbai 5’s triumphed over Falcao’s Chennai 5’s. But the result was just a footnote in the game.
Thousands of fans thronged into the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai. The star attraction of the game was undoubtedly Ryan Giggs. Many spectators were spotted waving Manchester United banners or sporting Manchester United jerseys.
And boy, were they satisfied. If the sight of Giggs bombing down Mumbai’s left wing wasn’t enough, he even treated the spectators with several audacious flicks and dummies drawing roars of approval from the crowd.
Giggs got his first touch on the ball in the first minute itself. Mumbai won a free kick in the third minute, but the shot was blocked by the wall. Colombian captain and Mumbai’s number 9, Angellot, had a shot saved while Chennai captain, Falcao, shot wide narrowly.
At the end of the first quarter, Chennai’s Cirilo conceded a penalty with a handball. If the spectators were expecting Giggs to step up, they were disappointed as Mumbai’s Foglia made no mistake from the spot. Mumbai ended the quarter with the lead.
At the start of the second half, there were a series of unsuccessful long balls from both sides. In the second minute of the quarter, Mumbai’s Angellot doubled his teams lead after sidestepping the goalkeeper.
With a 2 goal lead, Mumbai’s marquee, Ryan Giggs, had a four minute rest. As the quarter drew to a close, Chennai put in a frantic effort, led by Falcao. However, Mumbai ended the half looking the stronger of the 2 teams.
At the interval, it was Falcao’s turn to take a breather as the Chennai marquee opted to have himself substituted. The free flowing rules of the game meant that he could bring himself on at any time, which he did.
Time after time, Chennai attacked down the flank. But Mumbai stood resolute and managed to disrupt Chennai’s play with quick counter attacks. Falcao had a couple of near misses, while Giggs stole the show with a superb nutmeg.
Similar to the first half, Foglia got a goal in the 10th minute. This time Giggs provided the assist after a brilliant counter attack. He followed that up by bamboozling opponents with an upward flick and then faking his action.
Mumbai came into the third quarter knowing that they had the game in the bag. All their players needed to do was keep their opposition off the ball, which they duly obliged.
However that did not stop Foglia from going on a blistering run through Chennai, before losing the ball. In the third minute of the quarter Foglia went on another run and this time, the Chennai defence could only manage to foul him outside the box.
Foglia took the free kick himself, but instead of swinging in the ball, he passed to the left wing, where Ramirez smashed it into the back of the net. Spectators could have been forgiven for thinking the contest to be over.
However, the match exploded to life in the next 2 minutes and Falcao was at the heart of it. First he attempted an audacious overhead lick, which was tapped in by Filho on the rebound.
Spectators hardly had time to catch their breath as Falcao then scored an amazing goal from the right wing. Cutting on to his left foot, he gave the goalkeeper no chance, as his shot smashed into the corner.
An unlikely comeback looked on the cards, but Mumbai managed to keep their opponents at bay. The game finished without further incident as Mumbai earned a well-deserved victory.
Coming to the marquee players, even though Giggs did not get on the scoresheet, he seemed to be at the heart of his teams play. Taking up a deep position, he disrupted Chennai’s attackers with his football skills.
As for Falcao, if fans had any doubt about his ability, they were sumptuously dispelled. He showed us why he is known as the ‘Pele’ of futsal. At one stage it looked as if Falcao would win the game single handedly. He might have, if not for one man.
The man of the match was undoubtedly Foglia. With 2 goals and an assist, he topped the statistics. But more importantly, his play gave unimaginable joy to the spectators. Time and again, he bounded through Chennai’s defence who could no nothing but watch helplessly.
Mumbai face Kochi tomorrow while Chennai face the same opposition a day after. For now, Mumbai 5’s have the distinction of winning the first ever match of Premier Futsal.