A top of the table clash, a team failing to show up and some high scoring encounters. The Amateur League – Delhi provided another weekend of great footballing action.
Here is a look back at all the action from Match day 8.
The day started with two pre-tournament favourites, Nightswatch FC & The Phoenix Project, taking on each other. Mishra and Sanil have stood out for their respective teams throughout the tournament, and they rose to the occasion once again in this rather fiery encounter.
Like all early morning kickoff’s at TAL – Delhi, this game too had a slow start as both teams struggled to keep possession. The Phoenix Project dominated the initial exchanges of the match and had a half chance in the 4th minute but captain for the day, Gobind misfired.
There was a spring in the step of Mishra today, who was leading the line alone in the absence of his strike partner Mohit. In the 6th minute, an excellent pass from Ikron found Mishra down the left wing, but he rushed into the shot and missed by a mile. Two minutes later, in the 8th minute, Mishra was running down the right, and this time, it was him who tried to play a through ball to Ikron, but the Phoenix Project defence was well aware of the danger and broke down the move. The pair of Ikron and Mishra weren’t done yet as 3 minutes later, Ikron tried to find Mishra, who this time was running down the middle but was once again denied by the solid Phoenix Project defenders.
At the 15th minute mark, The Phoenix Project players looked a little more settled and started to thread some passes together. TPP midfielders were creating some good chances for their strikers, but it seemed that the strikers had forgotten their shooting boots.
The game into life in the 21st minute, when debutant Singhal was brought down by a Phoenix Project defender right on the edge of the box. As Mishra was stepping up to take the free-kick, there were some words exchanged between the two teams and in a flash of a second the referee was trying to stop a fight from breaking out. The ref was rather lenient as he kept his cards in his pockets but did a good job of handling the situation.
4 minutes later, Gobind had a brilliant opportunity once again as he made a good run into the box but just as he was about to shoot, Prithivij, out of nowhere, pulled out the tackle of the day.
The teams ended the half goalless.
Half Time: Nightswatch FC 0 – 0 The Phoenix Project
As the teams walked out for the second half, there was little doubt that this game had a few goals in it.
It was The Phoenix Project who started on the front foot as they attacked the Nightswatch goal from all sides. The Phoenix Project players were starting to turn up the heat, and in the 33rd minute, Srinjay, captain for the Nightswatch, was shown a yellow card as he brought down Avi while trying to stop an attack.
Penna tried to outfox the Nightswatch defence from the resulting free-kick, as he hit the ball under the jumping wall. The ball found its way to Sanil, who smashed it straight into the hands of the goalkeeper.
The next few minutes saw, TPP dominate possession but in the 43rd minute against the run of play, a pin-point pass from Srinjay found Mishra who unleashed a thunderbolt that ended in the back of the goal.
Things were starting to heat up once again as The Phoenix Project players were getting frustrated. Gobind picked up a yellow card in the 45th minute. Their frustration grew further when Avi missed a chance from inside the box just a few seconds later.
At this point, it seemed that it wasn’t going to be TPP’s day, but in the 50th minute, they were handed a lucky break. Dua was brought down inside the box by Mishra, who put out his leg out a little too late. Dua didn’t do Mishra any favours as he made the most of the situation and made his fall look a little theatrical.
Mr Cool, Sanil stepped up to take the penalty, and as always he didn't make any mistake as he slotted the ball in the top right corner of the goal.
Mishra, trying to make the most of the new rules, fired a shot from the centre as the game kicked off after the goal. The TPP goalkeeper was aware of the danger and deflected the ball out of play for a corner.
Just as the game was heading for a draw, Sanil, in the 56th minute, showed his class as he struck a shot from the edge of the box and beat the diving keeper who had no chance of stopping the ball.
With hardly any time left on the clock, TPP parked the bus and ensured that the Nightswatch weren't handed any more chances.
Full Time: Nightswatch 1 – 2 The Phoenix Project
Mavericks FC took on an ever improving Warriors FC in the second game of the day.
Before we start the review, a special mention has to be given to the Warriors who according to us have been the most improved team in the tournament.
It’s never easy to play when you are just thrown together on the field at the start of a competition, but this group of individuals has come together and formed a formidable team.
The first two minutes of the game belonged to the Warriors captain, Shivam. First, he pulled off a fantastic, last ditch, sliding tackle to deny the Mavericks from going up in the first minute and then a minute later came close to scoring as he ran down the heart of the Mavericks defence, which refused to close down on him, but he failed to hit the target.
It was the Warriors who dominated the first few minutes, and they were duly rewarded in the 4th minute as a through ball found Moonis, who timed his run to perfection and just passed the ball into the goal as the keeper came off his line to stop him.
The Maverick players started to settle down at the 10th-minute mark, and they began to show some neat dribbling skills. In the 17th minute, Vatsav, captain of the Mavericks, took an ambitious shot from a tight angle which was easily punched away by the Warriors goalkeeper.
The Warriors resilience was finally broken in the 23rd minute as Navratan made a brilliant run down the middle and used his body strength to keep the Warriors defender at bay and shot the ball into the back of the goal. Scores level at 1-1.
3 minutes later, Navratan was in action once again as he headed the ball into the back of the goal from an immaculate cross from Digvijay, but the celebrations were cut short as the linesman flagged for offside.
In the closing minutes of the half, the Warriors had an opportunity to take the lead once again but Himanshu Sharma somehow managed to miss from close range.
Half Time: Mavericks FC 1 – 1 Warriors FC
The second half started with the Mavericks on the front foot. A brilliant sequence of passes saw the ball move from Navratan to Vatsav on the right wing, who delivered a perfect cross into the box which was headed wide by Kushagra.
However, 4 minutes later, Kushagra made up for his mistake as he headed past the goalkeeper from a Digvijay Singh corner.
The Mavericks came into this half determined and with a clear strategy to involve their wide-men and stretch the Warriors defence. And The Warriors looked a little out of place as Vatsav and Digvijay ran riot down the wings and delivered cross after cross.
As the steam from the game started to fizzle out, Harsh Sen came up with a moment of brilliance in the 48th minute as he shot from about 40 yards out and caught the keeper out of his place. Scores level 2-2.
The teams were in no mood to settle for a draw as the game started to open up. A chance came to Navratan in the 52nd minute, but he failed to time his header. In the last minute of the game, Harsh Sen made a brilliant run and almost stole all three points but was denied by the foot of the Mavericks goalkeeper.
A draw was a fair result as both teams had their moments in the game.
Final Score: Mavericks FC 2 – 2 Warriors FC
Game 3 saw a struggling Phoenix DFC take on a rejuvenated FC En Fuegos. Phoenix came into this one with O wins on the board and a goal difference of negative 20. The bottom-placed Phoenix team has struggled in all departments of the game, especially up top where their strikers had managed a total of 4 goals in the last seven games.
With nothing left to lose, the Phoenix DFC players started this game with a little more freedom and flair. Just 2 minutes into the game, Phoenix DFC surprised the EN Fuegos defence, which was missing three of its regular starters, with a smartly worked corner routine. Rohit Ghosh timed his kick to perfection but was helped by the goalkeeper, who could have and should have saved it.
Phoenix DFC players kept up the pressure and had a fast break opportunity, but the attack was cut short when Suraj brought down Pankaj on the right wing. Suraj was lucky not to be booked for that.
A minute later, in the 6th minute, the scores were level as Teyjas, caught the Phoenix DFC napping, as he found Deepanshu from a throw-in and Deepanshu obliged by putting the ball in the back of the net.
The momentum started to shift in favour of the En Fuegos after the goal, with Max and Teyjas dictating the tempo of the match.
But, Ghosh wasn't done yet, as against the run of play in the 14th minute, he blasted a shot past the keeper, who got a hand on the ball but couldn't keep it out.
In a topsy-turvy first half, we were level again in the 17th minute as a shot from Varun deflected off the back of a Phoenix defender and sat up perfectly for Deepanshu, who made no mistake and doubled his tally.
10 minutes later, assist king, Teyjas had an opportunity to get his name of the scoresheet, but he somehow managed to miss from inside the box.
With 3 minutes left for halftime, Phoenix hearts were broken as a defensive error from Bijit gave Shahani the easiest of chances and he wasn't going to miss from there.
Half Time: FC En Fuegos 3 – 2 Phoenix DFC
The second half was not as entertaining as the first as FC En Fuegos players kept hold of the possession and slowed the pace of the game.
The En Fuegos came close to doubling their lead in the 35th minute, but this time, Shahani failed as he shot wide of goal.
The only chance for Phoenix in the second half came in the 40th minute when a through ball found Himanshu who timed his run to perfection to beat the offside trap but was unfortunately denied by excellent save from Abhishek.
En Fuegos had another opportunity to increase their goal tally when the Phoenix goalkeeper came out of his box to clear the ball but was beaten by Varun Verma, however, the goalkeeper was saved blushes by his defenders who blocked the shot to deny Varun from scoring.
However, En Fuegos finally managed to score in the 54th minute as a throw in from Teyjas found Deepanshu once again. And Deepanshu didn't need a second invitation to put the game to rest and complete his hat-trick.
Full Time: FC En Fuegos 4 – 2 Phoenix DFC
The fourth game of the day was scheduled to be played between Vikings FC and Guerilla United. However, the 7 players who have been turning up for the Guerilla’s over the past few weekends, finally gave up and decided to hand the Vikings a walk over.
For the sake of the league, we hope the Guerilla United players turn up for the remaining 3 games.
The fifth game of the day was played out between the Flying Pundits and In2Sports FC.
Flying Pundits have been in extraordinary form, highlighted by their impressive seven-goal victory during their previous outing. On the other hand, In2Sports have been emerging as a stronger unit as the tournament progress. We expected it to be a battle, and a battle it was.
Flying Pundits made no delay in revealing their intentions with Akshat coming very close to opening the scoring in the 6th minute with a chip over the head of the keeper who was caught out of the box. However, luckily for In2Sports, the ball bounced and went over the crossbar. That was certainly a strong wake up call for In2Sports and Tenzin replied with a shot that just curled away from the target in the 8th minute.
In2Sports stepped on the gas with attacks coming fast and strong. First, Sagar crossed the ball into the box in the 10th minute which was headed by Manoj, but the shot went off target. Manoj came close to scoring in the 16th minute with a cross into the box from Amit, but he headed wide once again. 2 minutes later, Deep Mitra Roy had an excellent opportunity as Tenzin played a squared ball into the box, but Deep completely misjudged the pace on the ball and missed his kick.
The relentless pressure from In2Sports attackers finally paid off in the 20th minute, when Tenzin put the ball in the back of the net.
The Flying Pundits for a while had been trying to block most of the attacks from In2Sports, but now, they stepped up the pace of the game and the last ten minutes of the first half saw both the teams attacking left, right and center.
The Pundits got the better of In2Sports with Akshath redeeming himself for his earlier miss with a perfected executed chip over the keeper that ended in the back of the goal in the 25th minute.
In the dying seconds of the first half, In2Sports should have taken the lead as Manoj drilled a ball into the box from the right but none of his teammates managed to get a foot on the ball.
Both teams emerged after the break, ready to do whatever it takes to get all three points from the game.
Manoj had a good chance to give In2Sports the lead as the In2Sports players outnumbered their opponents on a counter attack opportunity but Manoj acted a little selfishly and went for glory himself but failed to score.
But, with In2Sports decisive passing and threatening runs, it wasn’t long before they got their second goal. It was Tenzin again who was able to break the deadlock. With a brilliant run along the left side of the pitch, he managed to beat the defenders with his pace, beat the keeper and placed the ball into the goal.
However, Flying Pundits are no pushover team. Yumbi and Akshath were looking dangerous whenever they had the ball. Yumbi came mighty close to scoring in the 44th minute when he found himself one on one with the keeper, but the keeper was able to get his foot on the shot and deflected the ball for a corner.
Shikhar turned out to be the saviour for the Flying Pundits as he ran along the left flank and with a brilliant outer foot shot scored the second goal for the Flying Pundits in the 55th minute. It was 2-2 with five minutes left.
Even though both teams tried hard, they were unable to outdo one another in the final minutes, and the points were shared between the teams.
Flying Pundits 2 – 2 In2Sports FC
What could be dubbed as a league decider, the sixth match of the day, saw table toppers, Chronic FC, going head to head with the title challengers Panthers FC.
We knew that this one was going to be full of action and drama. And boy! The players on the field didn't disappoint us.
The game started with Chronic FC on the stronger foot, with their attacks coming thick and fast. A 3rd minute cross from Nikhil to Vahin, who just missed the chance to get off to a flying start set the tempo of the game.
2 minutes later, David nearly broke the deadlock, only to be denied by the frame of the goal.
However, we never underestimated the Panthers attack either. A cross in the 7th minute from Suvraj found Ujjwal inside the box, who headed the ball towards goal and had the keeper completely stretched who pulled off a brilliant save.
There was a sense of anxiety in the air and tackles were flying. Things got heated when Nikhil fouled Dhruv in the 11th minute, but Nikhil was lucky not to be shown a card by the ref.
By now, both teams had settled in, and there were attacks at both ends. David had another good chance which he squandered. On the other end, Panthers almost broke through the Chronic defence but were denied by Captain Karan who showed brilliant awareness and cleared the ball.
The Panthers were handed a lifeline by the referee in the 20th minute when he didn't show KD a red card for a push on Vahin. Any other day and any other referee, the Panthers would have been down to 10.
David was in action and failed to score once again, but credit needs to be given to Dhruv who put his body on the line and blocked the shot.
It was a matter of time before David scored and after a few missed chances he was finally able to get his team in the driver’s seat in the 26th minute. Chronic FC captain, Karan from a dead ball situation, found David, who was able to get away from the defence line and made no mistake in chipping the ball over the head of the Panther’s keeper, Kruzer, for the first goal of the game.
Half Time: Chronic FC 1 – 0 Panthers FC
The second half started with the Panthers on an aggressive front and Chronic determined to score some more goals.
And it wasn’t long before Chronic FC started dictating the game completely. Just 7 minutes into the second half Chronic FC got their second goal. This time, it was Superman, Vahin. Tahiliani found him with an excellent through ball and Vahin with a solo run managed to beat the keeper with a well-placed shot. It was 2-0 for Chronic FC, and they were completely in command.
Even though the forwards had done their work, it is the defenders of Chronic FC who deserve all the credit, as they were able to keep the likes of Suvraj, K.D, Ujjwal under check.
Tahiliani, Seano, Ayush and Karan made sure that Suvraj did not get enough space and were able to cut off the supply of passes to him as well.
Chronic hit the final nail in the Panthers coffin in the 53rd minute when Nikhil tried his luck with an excellent strike on goal, which hit the right bar and ended in the goal.
David could have added another one in the 25th minute, but he missed an easy chance. A couple of minutes later, Tahiliani got close to scoring as well but was unfortunate to hit the crossbar.
Final Score: Chronic FC 3 – 0 Panthers FC
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