December 26, 2017 9:44:27 pm
Nongdamba Naorem, who scored a spectacular solo run goal in Indian Arrows 3-0 drubbing of Minerva Punjab in an I-League match, said he wanted to emulate Belgium and Chelsea attacking midfielder Eden Hazard’s dribbling skills.
Naorem’s 86th minute strike was easily the goal of the season so far as he cut in from the left channel and dodged past six Lajong players before slotting the ball past an onrushing goalie into the net. Naorem had come into the match as a substitute in the 75th minute.
“I love to watch Eden Hazard dribbling and scoring goals. I love to dribble. So I dribbled and got past a couple of (Minerva) defenders and then suddenly I realised that I can score the goal. I cannot believe that I have scored that goal,” Naorem said after the match at Ambedkar Stadium.
“It is one of the best goals I have scored in my career,” said the Manipuri who will turn 18 on January 2.
Asked if he tried to dribble most of the time during training also, he said, “I almost score during the FIFA U-17 World Cup against USA and Colombia. At that time, I could not score.
— Kashinath (@bkashi) 26 December 2017
“But I am more confident now. (Coach) Luis Norton de Matos told me after the U-17 World Cup (during AFC U-19 Championships qualifiers) that when I get the ball I should not just dribble but should also try to get a penalty or try to shoot the ball. He said I could have scored two-three goals,” he said.
Naorem even dodged past two strong-built foreign players of Minerva, and asked how it happened, he said, “Look, players like Lionel Messi and Isco are the examples. Football is not about physicality, it is about playing intelligently. I just tried to keep the ball away from them.
“When I dribble, I can attract more opposition players to me and that gives space to my team-mates. So I also try to create space and chance for my team-mates by my dribbling.”
He said he was disappointed when he was not included in the squad of 18 for Arrows match against Gokulam Kerala FC here on December 22 but that made him determined to do something when he gets a chance to play.
“When my name was not there in the team list against Gokulam, I was angry. But I respect the decision of my coach. I then resolve that whenever I get a chance I will do something to deserve a place in the playing side.”
Asked if playing in I-League was tough, Naorem said, “We thought it will be very difficult to compete in the I-League. But after the U-17 World Cup experience I feel playing in the I-League is not that difficult.”
He said the team was focussed on winning today’s match after losing to Gokulam Kerala.
“Yesterday was Christmas but we just wish one another Merry Christmas and then concentrated on our game. I believe that has made the difference. There was eagerness to win the match among the players.”
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