The 120th edition of the Indian Football Association's (IFA) shield's group ties saw the All India Football Federation's (AIFF) elite academy U18s thump the I-League's defending champions Mohun Bagan's fledglings 4-0, in a group B tie yesterday, 22nd February. Monday's group B ties also saw the LFC - DSK academy succumb to the attacking nous of Malaysia's Frenz United's U18s who won 2-3 on the night.
With their second win on the trot, the AIFFAcademy, who are also the U18 I-LEague champions, lead the group with six points, whilst the LFC-DSK academy and Frenz United have three points each, with the Malaysian side having played a game lesser than the other two.
Things got off on the right foot for the Federation's academy, who scored in the 11th minute. An Anirudh Thapa inswinging corner saw the ball fall kindly to central defender Amal Das, who made no mistake with the finish to put the Blues into the lead.
Things would go from good to great for the home side on this occasion, as a neat build up from Baoringdao Bodo saw his through ball received by Abhishek Haldar in prime territory. The Bagan defender covering Haldar fouled him in the process which led to a penalty. Edmund Lalrindika coverted with ease to hand Bagan a two goal advantage.
The young Mariners would've been embarrassed by a bigger scoreline had it not been for the heroics of Debnath Mondal, their custodian, who denied Lalrindika and another attacker respectively, with well timed saves, as the teams went into the interval with the Academy in a firm 2-0 lead.
There would be no denying Prosenjit Chakraborthy in the second half however, as he smashed the ball into the top corner after a fantastic set-up from Jerry Lalrinzuala to make it a 3-0 scoreline.
The colts added gloss to the scoreboard with a fourth, through the venerable Lalrinzuala, who ffinished off another Bodo assist with ease, as the Mariners were sunk at the Barasat and one which saw the Academy notch up consecutive victories.
In the other Group B tie, Malaysia's Frenz United broke the LFC-DSK Academy hearts as they scored an injury time winner to establish their presence in the group with an opening win.
The Pune-based side opened the scoring in the 9th minute through Lallianzuala Changte, but that was immediately negated by Frenz United's Shahrul Akmal in the 11th minute. Hadi Fayyad doubled the away team's score with a well placed effort in the 16th minute.
The teams went into the break with the away side holding a slender advantage. The game would return to level pegging in the 49th minute as Lalruatpuia smashed home brilliantly for the LFC-DSK Academy.
The tie was evenly fought right upto the 93rd minute, when Aep Maulana snatched a winner for the Malaysians. The group now see's United in third, behind their hosts on the day, due to an inferior goal difference, but equal on points. Mohun Bagan's U19s are botton of the group.
23rd February's fixture sees Salgaocar FC's young guns take on the English side Crystal Palace FC's U19s in a Group A encounter.