Chennai: Led by their marquee player Michel Salgado, Kochi 5s thrashed Mumbai 5s 4-1 in the Premier Futsal in Chennai on Saturday.
Mumbai had taken the lead before a fourth quarter comeback saw Kochi storm to an unassailable lead at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Fans turned out in numbers with the majority of them in Manchester United kits to show their support for Red Devils legend Ryan Giggs of the Mumbai 5s. Adriano Foglia scored twice and the Brazil-born Italian donned the top goalscorer's armband before the game.
Mumbai almost took the lead in the first quarter when Giggs' shot went through Casalone's legs only for the goalkeeper to recover and dive backward to palm the ball away before it trickled over the line. Salgado also almost got into the act with a shot from the left that went just wide of the far post. Although a right-back in his playing days, Salgado was very much on the attack and sometimes the furthest man forward.
But that wasn't to say that he was averse to defending.
With Mumbai piling on the pressure, Salgado made a number of crucial blocks from open play and corners to frustrate Mumbai.
Kochi opted to keep possession and build from the back to create space while Mumbai only looked to counter on winning the ball back.
The second quarter was very much end-to-end with Mumbai keeping Casalone busy in goal who denied Foglia and Angellot.
On the other hand, Kochi were wasteful when they had opportunities to counter and the score at half-time read 0-0.
The third quarter saw Mumbai get into foul trouble with Giggs and Salgado coming together a couple of times. In spite of the Welshman s protests, the fifth foul saw Salgado tripped and Deives Moraes, with a run up from the half-line, put away the penalty to give Kochi the lead.
However, Giggs' trickery paid off and his sublime back-heel pass created a sweeping move with four players involved with Foglia eventually setting up Angellot to tap into an empty net.
Kochi then ripped Mumbai apart in the fourth quarter when first Deives Moraes doubled his tally as Kochi finally beat Casalone in open play followed by a goal from Gekabert in almost similar fashion from the right. Michel Salgado finally got his goal after nicking the ball from Giggs and beating a backtracking Casalone to simply tap it in with nobody to stop him.
In the other match of the day, Bengaluru and Kolkata played out 1-1 draw.
Bengaluru's Paul Scholes deployed himself at the centre of the action, as he did at Manchester United, and he was finding his players with ease. His composure on the ball and keen eye to spot free players saw Neto almost open the scoring with his shot going wide.
But Scholes got his assist as he found Jonathan and his shot elicited a poor save as Cidao bundled the ball into the net to give Bengaluru the lead in the first quarter.
It seems almost incredulous to suggest that goalkeepers can create chances but it was Kolkata 5s goalkeeper Cidao who advanced into Bengaluru's half to set up a move that almost saw Crespo score before a deflection saw it go wide.
The second quarter saw Bengaluru patiently circulating the ball looking for openings with Kolkata initially struggling to win the ball back.
Bengaluru's Nabil was a busy man moving around the pitch to make himself available for passes and finding teammates until Scholes was reintroduced following a substitution.
However, Kolkata eventually found their rhythm and found the equaliser with three minutes to go.
Akshay Nair dispossessed Bengaluru and tried to advance before he was brought down. But Pula, stationed on the right flank, pounced on the loose ball and took his shot to give Kolkata the equaliser before half-time.
The third quarter saw Cidao try his luck again by advancing into Bengaluru's half. With the ball at his feet near the half-line, he saw vacant space in midfield and was invited to take a shot that was blocked by Elias. He had a chance on the rebound as well which went just wide.
He wasn't done yet as he had to run back to get into position to head away a shot from deep in Bengaluru's half to round off an eventful 10 seconds.
Not to be outdone by Cidao, even Bengaluru goalkeeper Elias tried his luck with a piledriver of a shot. Cidao was beaten but the ball whistled past the post. Paul Scholes also got into the act late in the game and faked a shot that saw Gabriel slide right past him before the United legend's shot was blocked.
Kolkata soon got into foul trouble and then Mohammed Islam got an orange card for a foul as Bengaluru countered.
Bengaluru opted to take a free-kick without a wall instead of a penalty (which is allowed in Futsal) but Cidao was up to the task and palmed the shot away to end the game at 1-1.