TAL cup concluded last Sunday with Horizons FC being crowned champions of the inaugural edition of TAL Cup. Horizons and Emdee Al-Fateh faced off in the final and with the game ending in a draw in regulation time, the result was decided via a penalty shoot-out which Horizons coming out on top.
Emdee Al-Fateh v Athlos United
Score: Emdee Al-Fateh (2) – (2) Athlos United
Scorers: Emdee Al-Fateh (Nihal Colaco 7’, Rohann Mathew 39’), Athlos United (Tejasvi Karanwal 1’, Srinath TV 16’)
An intense match between Athlos United and Emdee Al-Fateh ended in a 2-2 draw in regulation time and the latter emerged winners through a penalty shoot-out. Athlos surprised the Al-Fateh by grabbing the lead in the opening minute of the game when Tejasvi Karanwal scored a superb goal from afar. Al-Fateh though didn’t let that faze them and responded with the equalizer via Nihal Colaco in the 7th minute.
The game was predicted to be close but the intensity matched the occasion and a thrilling encounter ensued for the entire duration of the match. Athlos took the lead again courtesy of a goal from Srinath TV, which ensured they had a lead going into halftime.
Al-Fateh emerged with a more attacking mindset after the half but the Athlos defence stood firm with impressive performances from Nithin KG and the returning Mohammed Arshaque.
With less than 11 minutes to go, Al-Fateh found a way through and Rohan Mathew scored the equalizer. The game then went into a penalty shoot-out and just when it seemed Athlos had the upper hand after an important save from Sachin Anand, they went on to miss the next penalty and lose their chance at a spot in the final.
Man of the Match: Sachin Anand (Athlos United)
Yataghan Internazionale v Horizons FC
Score: Yataghan Internazionale (1) – (2) Horizons FC
Scorers: Yataghan Internazionale (Jay Singadia 15’), Horizons FC (Barry Anand 5’, Alex Praveen 42’)
The second semifinal had old foes and division rivals Yataghan Internazionale and Horizons FC taking on each other, and when these two play each other it always has an interesting story and this match was not any different. As expected, Yataghan set up a strong defensive line with Jay Singadia their only attacking outlet. However, Horizons broke that line early in the game off a set piece (surprisingly) when Barry Anand rose the tallest to meet the ball.
The game continued in the same fashion with Horizons in possession of the ball and Yataghan playing on the counter but to no avail. Things in the game changed when a corner caught everyone off guard and Jay curled the ball directly from the corner kick and Yataghan were back on level terms. After that, the game was scrappy and Horizons could not make use of the possession they had although credit must be given to Yataghan’s defence which stood firm.
With the match looking like it was heading for penalties, Horizons finally found the breakthrough again when Alex Praveen found the net from inside the box to restore Horizons’ lead. With the clock running down, Yataghan decided to change tactics and play a little more attack in their game and it almost paid off but a controversial offside call saw Jay’s run from behind the defenders flagged offside and that ended things as the final whistle blew.
Man of the Match: Alex Praveen (Horizons FC)
Horizons FC v Emdee Al-Fateh
Score: Horizons FC (1) – (1) Emdee Al-Fateh
Scorers: Emdee Al-Fateh (Zaib Sherief 9’), Horizons FC (Karthigeyan Janardhan (42’)
Horizons FC beat Emdee Al-Fateh on penalties (5-4)
The final of the inaugural edition of TAL cup featured two exciting teams in Horizons FC and Emdee Al-Fateh, both of whom deserved thoroughly to be there. The intensity of the match was expected to be at full throttle and it didn’t disappoint with the game having everything from equalizers to cards to penalties.
Al-Fateh started the game the better of the two and to their credit were the better team during regulation time. Zaib Sherief opened the scoring in the 9th minute when a beautiful cross from Nikhil Das found its way to Zaib, who slotted it home with a neat header. Al-Fateh looked more dangerous after that and looked to double the lead but a few chances were wasted and kept Horizons in the game.
After halftime, Horizons got back into the game and Al-Fateh were pushed back to defend but their defence held firm and just when it seemed like they might hold of Horizons for a famous victory an unlucky incident saw them give away a penalty through a handball foul. Captain Karthigeyan Janardhan stepped up and made no mistake in finding the equalizer.
The game ended in a stalemate in regulation time and penalties would decide the winner. Both teams had excellent keepers in good form but it was Horizons who came out on top and won the penalty shoot out 5-4. Horizons picked up silverware after a two-year gap but thoroughly deserved it after an impressive run to the final.
Man of the Match: Nikhil Das (Emdee Al-Fateh)