Zahira College comprehensively beat De Mazenod College 4-1 to storm their way into semis in the final quarter final clash of the Kotmale U19 Schools’ Football Championship played down at Kew Points Road.
The boys from Maradana came into the match as the overwhelming favourites but a tough fight from De Mazenod was expected.
Zahira couldn’t have asked for a dream start as they scored two goals inside four minutes, both came as a result of defending blunders.
It was Mohamed Aaqib who scored the first goal in the second minute when he deposited the ball past the goalkeeper as the defender failed to clear the ball away.
The defenders didn’t correct their mistake soon enough as they allowed young Mohamed Atheek the ball without clearing at first hand and Atheek showed great composure to beat two defenders before scoring.
De Mazenod was shell shocked after the start and couldn’t pull the strings together. But luck favoured them through a set piece opportunity and they pounced on it to make it count.
Deen Jaya was the first to react to the set piece as he volleyed past the goalkeeper Rasik Rishad to put De Mazenod back in contention in the 15th minute. The goal revived them a bit but it was Zahira who kept the possession of the ball.
Despite the three goals, the match didn’t settle into a rhythm as both teams played a clearing game. It was Zahira who looked like scoring whenever the opportunity arises.
The decisive goal came in the 29th minute when Shafran Sathar fed Murshid who despite not getting a proper touch was able to find the back of the net with a looping volley.
The remaining minutes before half time was negotiated easily by Zahira who bossed the midfield led by the U19 National deputy Farood Faiz.
There was a tactical loophole that was visible. The defense held a high line but was not supported by the goalkeeper who stayed rooted back with the posts giving ample time and space for Zahira attackers to run into the goal.
Half Time: Zahira College 3-1 De Mazenod College
De Mazenod College came into the second half with some intention creating attacking opportunities in the first few exchanges. But Zahira capitalized on the free space at the back by counter attacking.
In the 54th minute, Shafran unleashed a shot inside the penalty area and the keeper could do nothing but watch it go into the net.
Despite creating all the momentum, the goal took it away and they looked clueless again as they looked like in most of the first half.
The match was fierce in its own way and De Mazenod tried to use their physical advantage, in doing so failed to control the ball which made it easier for Zahira to stick to their game plan.
The second half saw not much of drama or chances created. Zahira who had three goals cushioned behind used the bench giving the youngsters some precious game time. De Mazenod did improve in the latter stage but that was never going to be enough to trouble the Zahira defense.
It was a matter of time before the referee brought the match to a close as Zahira went into the finals with a resounding victory.
Full Time: Zahira College 4-1 De Mazenod College
ThePapare.com Player of the Match – Shafran Sathar
By winning this encounter Zahira will move into the semi-finals facing the defending champions St. Henry’s College. Zahira will be looking forward for that fixture with a payback is due from their part after last year’s loss in the finals in the same competition.
Speaking to ThePapare.com, The losing coach of De Mazenod College Rohitha De Costa,
Our first XI goalkeeper was not able to play today and we had field in with our U17 goalkeeper. That was a drawback. There was a big technical error in the first half but we were able to sort it out in the second half. The team also didn’t play its natural game; especially the forwards were out of touch. We created some opportunities but they weren’t utilized well
The Coach of Zahira College Mohamed Roomy expressed his honest view about the condition of the ground;
We came here to win and we were able to do that comfortably but there were some mistakes which we have to sort it out before the semi-finals. The ground condition was very bad and we couldn’t play our natural one tap passing game. It affected the confidence of the players too but they did well to make attacking opportunities
When asked about their semi-finals clash with St. Henry’s;
Yes it is another final for us too and we will practice accordingly in order to beat them.