AIFF Media Team
NEW DELHI: Delhi FC were crowned champions of the first-ever edition of the Hero Futsal Club Championship at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi, on Saturday, November 13, 2021.
The side from the capital faced off against Kolkata giants Mohammedan Sporting, whom they beat by a massive 7-2 margin on the night, to be crowned champions of the Hero Futsal Club Championship.
Delhi captain Nikhil Mali was the star of the show once again, as he netted five goals in the game, bringing his overall tournament tally to 28 goals; Mali has scored at least three goals in every match in the Hero Futsal Club Championship.
The club from the Capital city was on the charge right from the start. In the very first minute, Nikhil Mali tested Mihir Sawant with a ferocious shot at his near post, but the Mohammedan SC goalkeeper was able to parry the ball away. Soon after, Delhi FC opened the scoring as Peka put the ball into the back of the net, curling it delightfully into the top-left corner, beating the goalkeeper all ends up.
Both teams kept pressing high in the initial stages of the game, and as a result, neither side could settle down and gain a firm foothold. Delhi FC kept coming at the Mohammedan goal but the side from Kolkata was able to keep them at bay. Jayesh Sutar made a big impact on the game for Mohammedan when he came on, as he kept Nikhil Mali relatively quiet on one end and acted as a launch-pad for the attacks that his side tried to string together.
Delhi FC have been a free-flowing attacking team in this tournament, but Scott Moraes has been a huge asset for the team in goal as well. Jayesh Sutar was the man who created the first real chance of the game for Mohammedan, when his shot took a deflection off a defender. However, Moraes reacted brilliantly to parry the ball away. He produced a miraculous double-save as well, this time denying Sherman Vaz in the process.
The Black Panthers pulled level on the 12-minute mark. Jayesh Sutar saw that Scott Moraes was off his line and scored via an audacious chip from his own half. The joy did not last long for Mohammedan SC though, as Nikhil Mali scored his 20th goal of the tournament, giving his side the lead moments before the half-time whistle.
The second half promised to be another humdinger of an affair, as the tie hung in the balance, although Delhi had a slender lead.
It delivered on the promise as neither side gave any space to their opponents in attack. In the 26th minute, Delhi FC got the insurance goal that they were looking for. Rohit Mulchandani smashed the ball into the back of the net with sheer power after Nikhil Mali laid it into his path from a free-kick.
After that, it was a comfortable ride for Delhi FC as confidence rose with each passing second. Nikhil Mali scored his second goal of the game in the 28th minute, making it 4-1 for the capital side.
Mohammedan had the chance to score from a penalty in the 30th minute, but Mihir Sawant blazed his shot over the cross-bar. In the 32nd minute, it felt like the inevitable happened as Nikhil Mali scored his third goal of the game, completing his fifth hat-trick in as many.
Snedden pulled a goal back a minute later for Mohammedan, but Mali scored from the spot as well on the other end, making it 6-2.
With nearly two minutes left on the clock, Mali scored his fifth goal of the match, taking his tally to 24 goals in the tournament and giving his side a 7-2 victory in the final.
Fair Play Award: Mangala Club
Best Goalkeeper: Scott Moraes (Delhi FC)
Top Scorer: Nikhil Mali (Delhi FC)
Most Valuable Player: Nikhil Mali (Delhi FC)