A few among those present at the Pedem Sports Complex sported Ronaldinho jerseys, but the man himself was not on the field.The Brazilian great and Goa 5s mega-star was sorely missed by football enthusiasts as his team started its Premier Futsal home leg with a 2-2 draw against Kolkata 5s here on Tuesday.That his exit from the tournament came fresh off a dazzling five-goal display on Sunday only made the yearning stronger.The cozy indoor venue, only around half-full, could have done with some Ronaldinho magic.“Ronaldinho brought a lot of joy and energy to the team because he is a happy guy. We miss him a lot. His absence is a big loss for the Goan people as well,” Goa custodian Bebe said. “We saw in Chennai that he can get the crowd pumped up.”Ronaldinho’s replacement, two-time World Cup winner Cafu, is expected to join the unit for its next fixture.In an apt reflection of the somber mood, Goa 5s conceded two goals early. Kolkata’s Brazil-born Russian import Pula hammered in a shot from distance in the fifth minute, before a sublime effort from Carioca doubled the lead soon after.After receiving the ball with his back turned to goal, Carioca spun around his marker and uncorked an unstoppable left-footed strike.The Goans seemed out of it at this stage, but a rousing performance in the third-quarter turned things around.A clinical counter-attack, started by the impressive Rafael was finished by Vampeta. The Italian futsal international added another three minutes later, when he went past the goalkeeper to find the net.Despite the numerous attacking forays which came in the closing stages, the scoreline remained 2-2 until the final whistle.Kolkata’s marquee name Hernan Crespo showed glimpses of his class, but the 41-year-old former Chelsea and Inter Milan striker was hampered by a lack of match-fitness.Ryan Giggs and Mumbai 5s, meanwhile, recorded an exciting 4-3 win over Chennai 5s later in the evening.Mumbai pivot Foglia grabbed the spotlight with a hat-trick, the stocky Brazilian-born Italian celebrated the third by jumping over the barricades which guard the playing area. Giggs, the clear crowd favourite, received the biggest cheer of the night when he tapped in a goal from close range.Mumbai, with two wins in three matches, is through to the semifinal round.The results: Kolkata 5s 2 (Pula 5, Carioca 9) drew with Goa 5s 2 (Vampeta 24, 27); Mumbai 5s 4 (Foglia 7, 20, 34, Ryan Giggs 26) bt Chennai 5s 3 (Sean Garnier 9, Romulo 15, Camilo 23).
92 total views, 1 views today