Indian Premier Futsal League 2017 Final: Mumbai Retain Title vs. Delhi

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2017

Former Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs (L) is tackled while taking part in the final of the Indian Premier Futsal Football League match at The Peddem Indoor Stadium in Mapusa on July 24, 2016. / AFP / STR        (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
STR/Getty Images

Mumbai Warriors retained the Indian Premier Futsal League title after beating Delhi Dragons 6-3 in 2017's final at Al Wasl Indoor Stadium in Dubai on Sunday. 

Despite the presence of captain Ryan Giggs, Lucas Francini was the star man as he bagged a hat-trick for the Warriors, while Carlos Gonzalves also chipped in with a brace. Ronaldinho scored for the Dragons, as did Ismail Hamdaoui (twice), but a Diego Costa own goal proved costly for the beaten finalists.

There were just five minutes left when Costa's own goal gave the Warriors an early lead. Typically, Delhi's response came from the magic feet of Ronaldinho, with the 37-year-old Brazilian's shot saved shortly after the restart.

Costa tried to make amends towards the end of the first period, but a stubborn Mumbai defence blocked his powerful drive. Things got worse for the Dragons at the start of the second quarter, when Francini's brace stretched the Warriors' advantage.

Highlights of the Argentinian's second were relayed on the team's official Twitter account:

Hamdaoui offered the Dragons' first response, but the Warriors were still in firm control as the half-time break approached.

It was imperative the Dragons got the next goal and it came when Ronaldinho netted from close range early in the third quarter. Costa and Hamdaoui both went close early in the final quarter, as the Warriors clung on to their slender lead.

Ronaldinho was the next to drag a shot off target while Delhi desperately sought some inspiration. However, it was Francini who produced the magic, completing his hat-trick with a deft chip to put the Warriors on the brink of retaining the title.

Gonzalves helped wrapped things up with a brace, with Hamdaoui's second sandwiched in between.

Gonzalves' first goal came at the end of a slick passing move, one applauded on the Warriors' official Twitter account:

Ultimately, Mumbai had too much firepower and know-how for the Dragons, although Ronaldinho and Co.'s efforts were saluted on the team's official Twitter account:

Like Giggs, the Brazilian has done his bit to light up what has been a hugely entertaining tournament. This format is sure to grow in popularity.