In a typical Bollywood masala film mould,Daniel Lalhlimpuia netted the decisive goal in the dying minutes of the match as his heroics helped Chandigarh Football Academy beat Dalbir Football Academy of Patiala 1-0 and lift the glittering trophy at the end of the Administrator’s Challenge Cup All India football tournament (boys Under-17) at the Sector 17 Football Stadium. Until the 86th minute,under overcast conditions and slight chill in the air,CFA despite being the dominant side failed to breach the Dalbir Academy defence and it was Daniel,top scorer of the tournament with 19 goals,who once again came to the team’s rescue.
Newbie Dalbir Academy did very well at guarding their goal and kept a good check on Daniel and Samuel. Right from the beginning,it was the CFA team who pressed hard and had the maximum possession of the ball. After tested by Gorkha Training Centre of Sikkim in the semi-final encounter,Dalbir Academy,who entered the final after some giant-killing performances,held the fort.
Looking off colour in the final,Daniel did get few chances that he failed to convert. AZ Lalramzauva,like always,kept the ball moving with some intelligent passing and Samuel,using his small strides,showed good understanding with other players. The decisions from referees continued to haunt the teams as CFA had two clear penalties but were turned down. With the time ticking and Dalbir Academy defenders breathing down their neck,the Chandigarh players failed to keep possession of the ball.
Dalbir Academy players,on the other hand,had handful of chances also,as their forwards lunged to the balls whenever the opportunity came their way. Finishing remained a big worry for both the team. For the fifth match in a row,Arshdeep,standing as the last line of defence,kept a clean sheet though he was hardly tested by any team.
It also did not help the Chandigarh team that despite keeping the possession of the ball for most part of the match,they never looked threatening in front of the goal. Even a single mistake by their player in making judgement whom to pass the ball and they had to orchestrate the move all over again. Dalbir Academy had only one game plan: clear the ball in the danger area and go the aerial way if they cannot counter the free-flowing game plan of the Chandigarh team.
It worked till the half-time and then they almost succeeded in taking the match to the extra time when Daniel struck. Glancing inside the danger area,Daniel took the ball on his chest from a free kick from Samuel and then blasted the ball past the diving Dalbir Academy keeper. The deadlock had been broken and the players knew it was the winning goal.
“It was a matter of scoring the opening goal. Had we been able to score in the first half,we could have killed the match there and then. But due to that elusive goal,the match was stretched for so long. I am happy the spectators got to watch a thrilling final match. I am happy with the result and it was a good effort from our player. Scoring about 60 goals and keeping a clean sheet is a tremendous effort,” shared CFA coach Harjinder Singh.
Meanwhile,in the match for third place,Mahilpur Football Academy thrashed Gorkha Taining Centre,Shillong 3-1. Manpartap Singh,Gurpinder Singh and Dimple Bhagat were the scorers for Mahilpur Academy while Robert Metei reduced the margin for the Sikkim team.
The CFA team lifted the glittering trophy and won Rs 2,00,000 while Dalbir Academy won Rs 1,00,000 and the runners-up trophy.