The Indian Arrows began their IFA Shield campaign with a 0-3 defeat against Real Kashmir in a Group A clash at the East Bengal Stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday, November 24, 2021. Goals from Fran Gonzalez, Pratesh Shirodkar and Thoi Singh gave the defending champions a winning start after a dominant display against the young Arrows.
The Indian Arrows did not look fazed despite the fact that Real Kashmir named a strong Starting XI and kept plugging for openings with their patient, possession-based style of play but often lacked the final finish at the end.
A quickfire double halfway through the first half gave Real Kashmir a strong foothold in the game and they never looked back. Defender Fran Gonzalez gave the defending champions the lead in the 18th minute.
Four minutes later, a moment of individual brilliance from Shirodkar doubled the Snow Leopards’ lead. The Goan midfielder dribbled his way past a couple of defenders on the left before playing a one-two with Thoi Singh and slotting it past Indian Arrows goalkeeper Ahan Prakash.
Ahan survived a hairy moment in the 70th minute after he came out of his box to clear a long ball and missed it completely. Real Kashmir winger Surchandra Singh was on hand to take advantage but could not capitalise.
In the 77th minute, the Indian Arrows had a great chance to reduce the deficit. Parthib Gogoi played in a low free-kick from the right edge of the box but the resulting connection lacked both power and direction and it was easily claimed by Real Kashmir goalkeeper Bilal Khan.
Thoi got in on the act in the 87th minute after pouncing on a loose ball in the box and smashing it goal-wards. Ahan got a huge hand to it but it was not enough as the ball trickled in off the far post.
The Indian Arrows will next face Calcutta Customs Club on December 1.
Indian Arrows Starting XI
Ahan Prakash; Leewan Castanha, Halen Nongtdu, Amandeep, Sajad H, Sibajit Leimanpokpam, Vibin Mohanan, Parthib Gogoi, Harsh Patre, Taison Singh, Satendra Yadav