Indian Premier Futsal League 2017: Telugu Tigers Score Semi-Final Win

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2017

Bengaluru 5's Paul Scholes (C) plays against Goa 5's during their Premier Futsal Football League match in Chennai on July 17, 2016. / AFP / ARUN SANKAR        (Photo credit should read ARUN SANKAR/AFP/Getty Images)
ARUN SANKAR/Getty Images

Deco's Telugu Tigers beat Ryan Giggs and the Mumbai Warriors 5-4 in the first leg of their semi-final match in the 2017 Indian Premier Futsal League in Delhi on Friday.

Earlier, the Delhi Dragons and Bengaluru Royals shared eight goals during a 4-4 thriller that involved key contributions from respective captains Ronaldinho and Paul Scholes.

The schedule for Saturday's semi-final second-leg matches, as well as the standings from the round-robin and group stages, are available at the tournament's official website.

Raducio King opened the scoring for the Royals, only for Diego Costa to equaliser moments later. The Dragons needed to draw level again once Jonathan Silva had put Bengaluru 2-1 in front.

It was left to Henrique Catarino to restore parity for Delhi. The Dragons had grown into the game thanks to the increasing influence of Ronaldinho, who steadily began showcasing all the flair and trickery he became famous for as a star with Brazil and Barcelona.

Ronaldinho treated fans to another terrific performance.
Ronaldinho treated fans to another terrific performance.ARUN SANKAR/Getty Images

Ronaldinho's vision allowed Nicolas Rolon to put Delhi 3-2 in front, but the lead didn't last long. Petterson Medeiros answered back less than 60 seconds later to make it 3-3 ahead of the final quarter.

Being pegged back again was merely the cue for Henrique to complete his brace. He duly curled a sweet effort into the net to put the Dragons back in front. Yet again, though, the lead was short-lived, lasting just three minutes before Silva also completed his brace thanks to an astute pass from Scholes.

The Royals were back in it, but Scholes had picked up an orange card for a defensive foul. Meanwhile, Medeiros had a shot saved late on, as Bengaluru ran out of time in their attempts to break the deadlock.

Later, the Tigers had to wait until the sixth minute for Deco to open the scoring. The Warriors tried to hit back immediately, but Giggs saw his shot flash wide after smartly finding some space.

Giggs couldn't quite rally the Warriors.
Giggs couldn't quite rally the Warriors.STR/Getty Images

Lucas Francini was the next to go close for Mumbai, but the Tigers stood firm. Yet Francini made amends when he provided the assist for Tairong Petchtiam to draw the Warriors level.

The Tigers retook the lead in the third quarter when Mauro Canal set up Mai Dat to score. However, two goals in quick succession from Peerapat Kaewwilai took the game out the Warriors' reach.

Giggs scored late before Peerapat completed his hat-trick from a free-kick. Rico Zulkarnain and Carlos Gonzalves made things close, but the Tigers hung on.

Telugu are now well-placed to reach the final, while Scholes and Ronaldinho will renew their attempts to separate the Royals and the Dragons on Saturday.