Premier Futsal: Kolkata and Bengaluru play out a draw

Kolkata 5s and Bengaluru 5s, led by Paul Scholes and Hernan Crespo respectively, cancelled each other out for a 1-1 draw at the Jawaharlal Nehru indoor stadium in Chennai.

Pula celebrates after scoring for Kolkata.   -  PTI

Futsal legend Falcao, in an interview prior to the second match on Saturday, said how things can change in a matter of seconds in Futsal and there are no clear favourites. His words turned out to be a prophecy as two exciting teams, Kolkata 5s and Bengaluru 5s, cancelled each other out for a 1-1 draw at the Jawaharlal Nehru indoor stadium here.

>Read: Kochi 5s defeats Mumbai 5s

Kolkata 5s, under Hernan Crespo, started with all the momentum after handing Goa a crushing a defeat in its opening match. But it was up against Paul Scholes-led Bengaluru 5s which had the likes of Futsal superstars Neto and Maxi in its ranks.

But it was the defensive work put in by both the teams that caught the eye. The teams played to the strategies dished out by the very lively coaches at the sideline and showed great appetite in protecting their goal.

The match began at a slow pace with both teams looking to play safe. Both the legends Crespo and Scholes had attempts saved at their respective ends in the initial minutes as the game looked devoid of pace and flair. It was the Manchester United star who made the difference in the first quarter, though – his pass finding Jonathan free in the left, who shot it past a diving keeper to open Bengaluru’s mark in the tournament.

Pula strikes

The second quarter saw Crespo’s men stage a comeback. Pula, who was the star for Kolkata in its inaugural match, found the back of the net with a thumping shot that gave keeper Santiago Elias no chance.

The third quarter saw both teams adopting a cautious approach. Gabriel got an orange for a blatant foul as the game started getting more feisty. There were a lot of shirt pulling the closest as both sides waited for an opportunity to pounce on the counter. But the opportunity never came. Kolkata’s goalkeeper Cidao came close to scoring in a rare foray into the opposition half but that was as close as it came.

The fourth quarter was the repeat of the third, only this time it was Bengaluru’s keeper Santiago Elias who came close to scoring with a shot from the half-way line. The game ended in a draw as both sides settled for a point. Atleast Falcao got one thing wrong - Futsal can produce 1-1s (which are ‘boring’ in his own words) .

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