It was a Saturday evening and the lights were on. Add to that cool breeze, perhaps, the coolest in the past few days amidst Kolkata’s heat-wave provided relief. It was the best weather to play football at least. The exchange of passes on the green made it all the more enthralling.
Playing their first home-match in the Asia Champions Trophy at the Barasat Stadium, AIFF XI (India U-16) lost 2-1 to Frenz United, Indonesia on Saturday. Both the Captains scored for their respective Teams – while Prasenjit Chakraborty had put India in the lead in injury time of the first half, Dody Al Fayed restored parity in the 83rd minute.
But it was Habibi who scored the winner in the dying minutes of the match.
AIFF XI represented by the India U-16 ntional team seized the initiative right from the kick-off. They switched it from one end to the other and there was always the spare one in the midfield to manouvre and initiate. The rivals preferred to play the waiting game.
It was in the 20th minute when the Kalyani Academy boys got their first try at the rival goal. Jerry Lalrinzuala’s free-kick found Nuruddin Sameer’s head but the effort narrowly sailed over.
AIFF XI’s domination continued and the best chance came in the 20th minute when the Academy boys were awarded an indirect free-kick on the edge of the 6-yard box. But the onrushing wall of the Indonesian boys managed to block Jerry Lalrinzuala’s try.
Prasenjit’s solo run down the midfield in the 30th minute tore apart the rival defense but even as he found Nijawm Muchahary in the clear, the latter was intercepted by the defense which recovered fast.
The plethora of passes played again split open Frenz United in the 40th minute. But this time Prasenjit, tried to find the spare one instead of having a crack at the goal.
The very next minute, Nuruddin intercepting Jerry’s diagonal ball which beat, sidestepped his marker and invaded into the box. But his left-footer went awry.
Eventually, the first goal which was so much inevitable came in the injury time of the first-half. A Jerry Lalrinzuala free-kick was headed by Amey Ranawade but it bounced back off the post but only for Prasenjit to tap it in.
The scripts for the second-half in the first ten minutes stayed the same as the first. The twinkling quick feet and the ability to play those deft touches even in the crowd kept the rivals guessing. Prasenjit almost doubled his tally in the 58th minute but even as he ran past the defence, his left-footer went straight to the rival Goalkeeper Rizky Adianta.
With the Blue shirts playing all over, even the Rain-God preferred to pay a visit. Though the drizzle didn’t last long, the droplets lifted the spirits of Frenz United who unleashed a series of attacks on the AIFF citadel. But a stubborn Dhheraj Singh under the bar refused to get beaten.
Fearing his boys seemingly losing the plot, Head Coach Goutam Ghosh introduced the talented Kharlukhi Keke in the midfield in place of Deependra Negi. Almost immediately Keke made an impact as he found Nuruddin on the right. Nuruuddin held on, hoodwinked Rave Utama but his centre was cleared in time by Sandri Hermawan.
Frenz United Indonesia were not to be suppressed. They pressed hard and it bore fruit when Captain Dody Al Fayed restored parity from the spot in the 83rd minute. The penalty was awarded when Kishan brought down Amin Ohorella as he went past him. Habibi then gave the visitors the lead for the first time in the 89th minute guiding the ball into the net from a deflection.
(Report & Picture courtesy AIFF Media)