AIFF XI beat Air India for their maiden I-League win

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

GURGAON - After a 0-5 drubbing at the hands of Salgaocar in their last outing, the young boys of AIFF XI raised their game to get their first full points in the I-League with a inspiring 2-1 victory over Air India in the fifth round here Wednesday.

AIFF XI, coached by Englishman Desmond Bulpin, outpaced Air India all throughout after facing some nervous moments in the first 20 minutes at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium here.

Once they settled down, AIFF XI pressed hard for goals and took the lead in the 33rd minute through Shilton D’ Silva’s header and Jagtar Singh doubled the scoreline in the 73rd minute. The colts, however, dropped guard in the injury time allowing Samson Singh to pull one back in favour of the Mumbai team.

With the win, AIFF XI moved up from the last position in the 14-team tournament to the eighth spot while Air India slipped to the 10th spot.

AIFF created some excellent goal-bound moves but missed passes due to lack of experience saw them wasting as many as three chances.

Defender Prathamesh Maulingkar played a crucial role in stopping Air India’s Nigerian forwards Yusuf Ibrahim and Okorogor Praise, who failed to make any impact against the Delhi-based side.

The burly Goan boy got the first chance to give the colts a lead, but his header missed the net by a whisker in the 29th minute. Four minutes later, AIFF XI went ahead from Tirthankar Sarkar’s precise cross and Shilton headed it past Air India goalkeeper Arup Debnath.

AIFF XI strikers Malswam Fela and Jeje Lalpeklua troubled the Air India defence, but failed to take advantage of the loose defence. In the 47th minute, Fela muscled past two defender, but his chip shot went above the bar.

The Delhi boys left Air India stunned in the 73rd minute, after Jagtar Singh found the the top of the net from inside the box.

Assured of their first win in five matches, AIFF XI were complacent in the last four minutes of the injury time allowing Samson to reduce the scoreline.

Bulpin was happy with the result, but said that the boys need to work on their passes.

“The boys were nervous in the first 20 minutes, but once they settled down they didn’t give Air India any chance. We have to work hard on our passing. The boys are not experienced and the more they play, they will gain experience,” he said.

Filed under: Soccer

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