Super sub, Karen Pais netted the all-important winner as Mumbai registered a hard-fought 1-0 victory over a spirited Pune side at Cooperage in the final of LIC - Maharashtra State Inter-District Women's Football Championship 2016, organized by MDFA (Mumbai District Football Association).
After a goalless first half, Mumbai finally got the breakthrough on the 53rd minute when Karen tapped in from close range to put the host in front. Karen had came on for Rita Cassia Ukachukwu in the 41st minute and proved to be the difference between both the sides.
The last ten minutes was nothing but a roller coaster ride for Mumbai and Pune. The latter fought hard to get the equalizer, but Mumbai's gritty defense and couple of decisive saves from Dhurva Vahia ensured their victory.
In the final moments of the game Durva confidently punched away Alisha's long try and then she charged to the top of the box to foil Muriel Adam who was moving dangerously towards goal. Moments later, Mumbai defender Afreen Peerbhoy came up with a timely tackle to once again deny Muriel of having a shy at goal.
In the 10th minute, Pune almost took the lead when Muriel's header off Alisha's free kick had goalkeeper Durva beaten, but to her dismay the ball bounced back of the horizontal bar.
After the change of ends, Mumbai had their first good attempt at goal when Shruti Lakshmi V.K. header off Juhi Shah's free-kick was saved by goalkeeper Claire Johnson before Karen was introduced into the game.
The young striker Karen made her presence felt when she tapped in from close after Jyotika Singh's try was blocked by goalkeeper Durva in the 53rd minute to bring cheer to the Mumbai supporters and teammates.
Karen was also named as the player of the match for her decisive goal.
The Mumbai team received the 'Champions' Trophy and a cheque of Rs 15,000 from Chief Guest, Ms Freyan Bhathena, Editor in Chief, Afternoon Despatch & Courier; Guest of Honour, Mr. Shridhar Pathare, Branch Manager of LIC and MDFA Chairman, Shri Aditya Thackeray. Pune received the runners-up trophy and a cash prize of Rs 10,000.