Frenz United Malaysia A defeat AIFF XI 1-0
NEW DELHI: Hosts Frenz United Malaysia A rode a second-half goal from Striker Najib Abdullah to edge past All India Football Federation’s U-16 Kalyani Regional Academy 1-0 in a keenly contested Group A encounter of the Asian Champions Trophy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Sunday (May 18, 2014).
A barren first half paved the way for a similar second where both the outfits fought toe to toe from the first whistle till the last. The hosts, however, had the last laugh courtesy a good spell in the first fifteen minutes after the interval.
Najib has the easiest of finishes to after being fed from the right with a brilliant cross that evaded all on its way inside the 18-yard box. The Striker tapped in from close with AIFF’s goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh getting the faintest of touches on the ball.
Frenz United could have doubled their tally had a shot not come off the crossbar.
The visitors on the other hand could have shared the points had Nuruddin’s effort not been cleared off the line.
In the first half, after resisting some early pressure from the hosts, the wind was back in AIFF’s Academy Boys’ sails as they found their rhythm creating spaces for themselves and attacking more fluently than their rivals.
Full-back Jerry Lalrinzuala’s overlapping runs down the flank coupled with occasional forays into rival citadel kept the hosts’ backline on tenterhooks.
Of one such surge, Jerry made a daring run at the heart of Frenz United’s defence to send Striker Nijwm Muchahary in the clear. Nijwm sidestepped the rival Goalkeeper but his placement flew over even as the yawning net waited. It all happened in the 40th minute.
That apart, AIFF XI’s another chance went abegging in the 73rd minute. Jerry switched it to the right flank and it fell to an unmarked Nuruddin just outside the box. The latter controlled it, entered the box, but even as he pulled the trigger, the rival Goalkeeper managed to get his fingers on the ball and the Malaysian defence cleared from the goalline.
As the Academy Academy boys kept up the pressure, it was Nuruddin again in the dying minutes of added time, this time sidestepping his marker to let loose a rasping right-footer from outside the box. But the diving Malaysian Goalkeeper managed to gather it on second attempt.
AIFF U-16 Boys next play Frenz United Indonesia at the Barasat Stadium on May 24, 2014. The match would be live on DD Sports.