THE CROSSBAR CHALLENGE
Last night, Bambolim witnessed one of the top-notch performances our team has performed so far this season. The purely one-sided match ended in a draw with both the teams sharing the spoils.
Our second-in-charge, Assistant Coach Ishfaq Ahmed managed the team so well that the absence of our main guns like Rahul KP, Jeakson Singh, and Facundo Pereyra was not reflected throughout the match. Coach Ishfaq Ahmed stuck to our Head Coach Kibu Vicuña’s successful formation of 4-4-1-1 with Bakary Kone and Costa Nhamoinesu as the Centre-backs. Our Captain Jessel Carneiro returned from injury and led our team for the night.
The first half started with a slow and pacey buildup by both the teams. The Men-of-Steel’s main man Nerijus Valskis in the 6th minute aimed to take advantage of a mistake by Albino but his low powerful shot was parried onto the post by the retreating goalkeeper, making up for his mistake.
Seeing the danger, our Men in Yellow changed the gears to the attacking mode. Englishman Gary Hooper who was assigned to play as a secondary striker was purely a playmaker for the team yesterday. Whenever the ball came into his foot, every attack seemed promising. In the 30th minute, Nerijus Valskis got an opportunity to take a shot inside the box where he was left completely unmarked, but the striker failed to connect as he slipped inside the box. In the 34th minute, a link-up play between Jordan Murray and Gary Hooper led to a clinical finish in the opposition net but the goal was turned down by the linesman as Hooper was marginally offside.
In the 34th minute, Hooper’s long rang effort from outside 30 yards hit the woodwork, on close examination the ball seemed to have crossed the goal line and bounced back, unfortunately, the goal wasn’t given as it was a difficult call for the referee without any assistance from goal line technology. After the 40th minute, our Men in Yellow displayed an aggressive attacking football where they created back-to-back threats in the opposition box. Gary Hooper at times cut open the highly packed opposition defense and created many chances for the Yellow Army. The crossbar became a real roadblock for our Men in Yellow as three clear cut chances struck the woodwork.
The saga continued in the second half as a powerful shot from our Aussie Sniper in the 51st minute was swept away by the opposition keeper. Our target man Jordan Murray became a handful to mark for the opposition defenders as we were attacking their backline relentlessly. Our boys pressed hard till the final whistle but couldn’t convert the chances into goals to bag all three points. The match ended 0-0 at Full-time.
Luck was clearly against our the Men in Yellow as we were denied all three points in a purely one-sided match where our team account for 18 shots and topped in almost all fields of the game. Sandeep Singh who was featured in full-back won the “Winning pass of the Game” award meanwhile our engine in the Midfield Sahal Abdul Samad was honored by the “Hero of the Match” award.
Jordan Murray who took almost 8 shots in the game reacted after the game, “It’s probably the most frustrating game I’ve ever played as a center forward. I don’t know what to say. But missing so many chances were bad. We’ve started believing a little more. We were unlucky early on. It’s obviously about winning games convincingly. But those draws and 1-0 wins give us hope. If we look at the reverse leg, we had to chase the game, but still won. However, this time we were on top. Both Gary (Hooper) and myself were constant threats upfront. It was tricky to not have our coach (Kibu Vicuña) on the touchline. We talked about that before the game, but, we have a team which can adapt to any situation”.
Yennum Yellow !
KBFC (4-4-1-1): Albino Geovanni Gomes (GK), Sandeep Singh Soraisham, Bakary Kone, Rohit Kumar, Jordan Murray, Jessel Allan Carneiro, Sahal Abdul Samad, Jose Vicente Gomez Umpierrez, Costa Nhamoinesu, Lalthathanga Khawlhring, Gary Hooper
Subs: Prabhsukhan Singh Gill (GK), Nishu Kumar, Prasanth Karuthadathkuni, Irom Seityasen Singh, Givson Singh Moirangthem, Abdul Hakku Nediyodath, Ritwik Kumar Das, Juan De Dios Prados Lopez, Yendrembam Denechandram Meitei
JFC (4-3-3): Rehenesh Thumbirumbu Paramba (GK), Narender, Aitor Monroy Rueda, Alexandre Monterio De Lima, Nerijus Valskis, Ricky Lallawmawma, Seiminlen Doungel, John Nicholas Fitzgerald, Laldinliana R, Stephens Eze, Farukh Chowdhary
Subs : Pawan Kumar (GK), Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Aniket Anil Jadhav, Issac Vanmalsawma Chhakchhuak, Joyner Monte Lourenco, Mohammad Mobashir, Karan Amin, Jitendra Singh, William Lalnunfela