The 57th edition of the Subroto Cup international football tournament, taking place at the Dr. Ambedkar Stadium, has been witness to a peculiar trend, particularly in the knockout stages across all sections. Of course, the Brazilian side was an exception.
All big names that have been scoring carefree and dominating against their rivals in group games almost become cautious when it comes to the quarter-finals or, for that matter, at a later stage as teams progressed.
And it was no different today, as was the case in the first quarter-final between SAI’s Junior National Talent Scouting Project JLN Stadium and Government High School from Mizoram. However, the Brazilians don’t believe in this theory and Atletico Paraneanse scored a conclusive 2-0 victory over Shillong Lajong FC in the second quarter-final.
They will now take on Mizoram in Wednesday’s second semi-final. The first one will feature Army Boys Coy and Haryana squads.
As was visible, Atletico had complete control over their quarter-final from the whistle and understandably, a good percentage of ball possession until the last minute. They have a knack of unsettling their opponents as they did to Meghalaya, shutting out all openings with a third-minute goal through B.L. Saile. For the rest of the first half, they toyed with their opponents with a tight defence and short passes.
When they changed ends, the Brazilians struck again, just four minutes into the second half when P. Fales fired in. After the two goals, they played for time without having to bother about anything, not even a remote mishap. Perhaps, this was their way of conserving energy for the next big matches. The Shillong boys must have picked up a lesson or two from their opponents from today’s game.
Shootout decides fate
As for the first quarter-final, Lalrintluanga, S.R. Lalruatkina, H.P. Remruata, P.C. Lalraut Puia and H.K. Lalruitwanga all hit the target with neat placements for Mizoram, while Arif, Mehir, Piyush and Bidya Sagar scored for the SAI squad.
When the two teams entered this afternoon, no one expected either team to run through the other side. Nevertheless, there were expectations of some good, attacking football from them. Alas, it was there only sporadically and for most period of the regulation time, the teams indulged only in aimless shots at the goal, more out of frustration than anything else.
In other words, there were hardly any worthwhile attempts from the two teams despite having a good line-up of strikers in their ranks. In fact, their defenders over worked today as man-to-man marking allowed little leeway for the forwards to march into the rival box.
The SAI boys did show their talent and they have very cool heads on the young shoulders with excellent future ahead. Nurtured properly, they should go places as the Subroto Cup exposure has shown.