Story by REDintern Kenneth Tan. Pictures by REDintern Tan Jon Han
Republic Poly hoist their captain and champions trophy up in jubilation after their incredible come-from-behind victory over ITE. RP overturned a 4-0 deficit in under 20 minutes to win through a golden goal in extra time. (Photo 1 © Tan Jon Han/Red Sports)
Republic Polytechnic, Monday, January 25, 2010 – In an emotionally charged final, Republic Polytechnic (RP) retained their men's Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic (IVP) floorball crown after coming from four goals down to nick the match 5-4 in extra time against the Institute of Technical Education (ITE).
Defending champions RP looked dead and buried when ITE went 4-0 up early in the third period but they showed their mettle in launching an incredible comeback which kept the spectators on their toes throughout.
The match started off on a perfect note for ITE. With just 25 seconds on the clock, Muhd Syazni Ramlee (ITE #5) swivelled through the RP defence in the middle and shot precisely into the bottom right corner of the goal.
RP slowly got into the game and registered their first significant attempt on goal at 2.50 when Sean Huang (RP #17) ran down the left flank and produced a shot that just shaved the left-hand post. Attar Shaheed (RP #23) then attempted a slap shot seconds later that went across the ground but unluckily came off the right-hand post.
After Muhd Radziman Putra (ITE #29) has a shot saved by RP's goalie Pradeep (RP #3) at 7.42, RP continued to dominate the rest of the half as Nanthagopalan's effort from quarter court was saved by ITE's custodian Nur Rasyiman Bin Andi (#23) and Ahmad Afzal (RP #76) sent his shot over the crossbar after a cross whipped in from the right flank.
Despite the incessant pressure, RP did not make their chances count and they paid the price at 12.07. Mohd Rashid Jalaludin (#16) attempted a shot from the right flank which was well saved by Pradeep. However the RP defence failed to clear their lines and Murugan Nair (ITE #20) took two attempts to scramble the ball in amid the melee. The goal was followed by raucous celebrations by the ITE bench.
ITE started to take control of the match from the start of the second period with their slick passing and movement, with the interchange of play between the two goalscorers Syazni and Murugan particularly impressive. RP found it hard to close them down.
Despite that, the RP team fought well to regain possession and started peppering shots from range, hoping to catch the ITE goalie off-guard. Ahmad Afzal's hanging shot at 20.52 was parried away by Rasyiman while Sean Huang's powerful shot from half court two minutes later came right off the right-hand post of the goal.
RP's captain Hazwan (#4) tried to rally his team at 23.52 as he produced a marauding run out of defence and passed to Nathagopalan, but the latter's shot was once again saved by the impressive Rasyiman.
RP pressured well throughout the second period but could not find the decisive final touch in front of goal. Soon it was a case of dÃ©jÃ vu as the misses begin to haunt them just like what occurred in the first period.
Radziman Putra's (ITE #29) effort from the right flank at 23.53 somehow squeezed through the legs of Pradeep and into the goal, extending ITE's lead to 3-0. Mohd Saddam (RP #30) could have reduced the deficit straightaway but he somehow contrived to miss right in front of goal with the ITE goalie beaten on the ground.
The start of the final period hinted at an exciting end to the match as a minor scuffle occurred between Mohd Saddam (RP #30) and Anas Bin Ahd Malek (ITE #28) but it was resolved within seconds.
ITE were awarded a free hit right in front of the RP box at 31.52 and they made RP pay with a piece of superbly improvised play. Mohd Rashid (ITE #16) passed to his right to Shariff (ITE #17), who feinted to shoot but instead passed it to Murugan Nair who was lurking on the left who gleefully swept the ball home for a 4-0 lead. The whole ITE bench erupted at what looked like an unassailable lead and a clinching goal for the championship.
However the game was not over as it seemed. Receiving a pass from Mohd Saddam, Attar Shaheed proceeded to whip the ball from quarter court range into the bottom left corner of the goal, which sailed just below the ITE goalie's reach. With the goal coming barely a minute after the 4th ITE goal, RP sniffed at a possible comeback.
Just two minutes later, they further reduced the deficit to 4-2. From a free hit in front of the ITE box, Oswind (RP #9) managed a magnificent air hook shot which slammed right into the top corner of the ITE goal. The spectators were visibly impressed with the goal, judging from the response from the stands. Cries of ´Go RP!' filled the ground thereafter.
RP piled on the pressure after the goal and pegged back ITE's attack as they appeared aggressive in going forward. Attar Shaheed's reverse drag shot just went wide, while Nathagopalan's fierce shot was saved after he intercepted the ball in midfield and made a great run through the middle.
Ahmad Afzal's attempt from quarter court was then parried by Rasyiman and continued rolling along the goal line, but was smothered after the second attempt, with the crowd already shouting ´Goal!' from the stands.
The pressure finally paid off at 41.24 as Nathagopalan's shot went off the left-hand post and Mohd Jumaeen (RP #5) slotted in the rebound just in front of goal, making the score 3-4.
Arguably the turning point of the match came with just under three minutes to play when ITE were awarded a penalty after a foul. Syazni (ITE #25) took a slow approach in his build-up. The whole ground turned silent for a moment when he shaped up to shoot while entering the RP box. Eventually the ball trickled away from his grasp, much to the delight of the RP supporters in the ground, who felt that the tide was turning in favour of their team.
With 20 seconds left, ITE had a chance to make it 5-3 when Murugan Nair spotted the empty goalmouth with the RP goalie withdrawn and decided to shoot early. The shot looked destined for goal but Mohd Saddam appeared out of nowhere to make a last-ditch clearance off the line. It paved the way for what would happen seconds later.
With the clock counting down and victory looming for ITE, RP refused to read the ITE script as Nathagopolan's shot just inside the box was parried. Amid the melee, Sean Huang slammed the ball home, levelling the score at 4-4, with just five seconds left.
The goal sent the RP supporters into frenzy as many of them rushed down to the sidelines to show appreciation for the RP players who the proceed to celebrate just front of the stands. A few ITE players lay dejected on the pitch.
After the final whistle, Radziman (ITE #29) and Lim Jin Quan (#12) had to be separated by their respective teammates after an argument.
The drama was not about to end with an extra time of five minutes. ITE had two shots deflected over by the determined RP defence within a minute.
Mohd Rashid managed to get his shot away amid a scramble in the RP box, but it was saved by RP's goalie Pradeep. Pradeep then managed to make a great flying save at 1.31 from a thumping effort from Abu Bakar (#19).
His save proved crucial as the match decider came at 2.42. Ahmad Afzal's cross from the left reached Nathagopalan who was lurking with intent in front of goal. Sensing the opportunity, the latter took his shot with his second touch and the ball rippled the top corner of the net.
He stayed rooted and stunned for a second, before realising what he has just done before his teammates piled on him in celebration. The goal sparked furore from the supporters who also joined in to celebrate the heart-thumping win.
When asked how he felt after this victory, Attar, scorer of RP's first goal, commented, "Speechless, we didn't know we could fight back. We just followed the coach's orders and we shown a lot of potential thereafter. We took some time to settle down, and when I scored, it felt it gave us a glimmer of hope which we managed to build on."
Oswind, scorer of RP's second goal with an air hook shot, responded when asked how he managed that superb goal, "My stick was pretty curved and I have used it for almost 3 years already, that's why I managed to do it."
When asked how the team managed to rally back from such a large deficit to win the match, he commented, "Actually this is the third IVP tournament I have participated in. The previous two times we only managed to finished second, so I was telling my teammates to win it before I leave the school. Everyone in the team helped me out and I helped them out as well."
Besides that, he also revealed that he nearly did not manage to play in the IVP tournament this year.
"I missed out on making the team last year due to some conflicts. The decision to bring me into the team was actually not easy as it has to go through a few procedures. Eventually it was made just one day before the tournament, thus I was able to play this year."
RP vs ITE
1st Period: 0-2
2nd Period: 0-3
3rd Period: 4-4
After Extra time: 5-4
0.35 Muhd Syazni Ramlee (ITE #25)
12.07 Murugan Nair (ITE #20)
23.53 Muhd Radziman Putra (ITE #29)
31.52 Murugan Nair (ITE #20)
33.31 Attar Shaheed (RP #23)
35.31 Oswind (RP #9)
41.24 Mohd Jumaeen (RP #5)
44.55 Sean Huang (RP #17)
ET 2.42 Nanthagopalan (RP #27)
Sean Huang (#17), Hazwan (#4, captain), Syazrul Afiq (#10), Muhd Ozalis (#11), Ahmad Afzal (#76), Attar Shaheed (#23), Ryan Yeo (#7), Guhen (#14), Jarir B Jumat (#6), Edwin Ong (#8), Mohd Saddam (#30), Muhd Firdaus (#35), Muhd Jumaeen (#5), Nanathagopalan (#27), Muhd Taufiq (#21), Daren New (#18), Lin Jin Quan (#12), Oswind (#9), Gary Lee (#58), Pradeep (#3, GK)
Muhd Radziman Putra (#29), Ibnu Musalli Hamid (#12) Sng Jian Da (#22), Muhd Zulkifli Masod (#13), Anas Bin Ahd Malek (#28), Zulfadli Omar (#24), Dzulkifli Domy Kanarudeen (#33), Abu Bakar Alisiddia Rahman (#19), Muhd Hamka Irfan Mohd Shah (#9), Muhd Syazni Ramlee (#25), Murugan Nair (#20), Nur Rasyiman Bin Andi (#23, GK), Shasitheran s/o Arummugan (#32, GK), Muhd Afiq Kanadi (#10), Md Shahid Zulkifli (#15), Iskandar Shah Md Zainal (#21), Mohd Rashid Jalaludin (#16), Shariff Abdul Rahman (#17, captain)
Barely settling down into the game, RP find themselves a goal down after Syazni (ITE #25) took advantage of defensive errors to score from close range. (Photo 2 © Tan Jon Han/Red Sports)
Having gone a goal down early into the mach, Nanathagopalan (RP #27) came close to equalizing, with his shot floating inches above the goalmouth. (Photo 3 © Tan Jon Han/Red Sports)
ITE celebrates with goal scorer Murugan Nair (ITE #20), who slots in their second goal in the 1st quarter. (Photo 4 © Tan Jon Han/Red Sports)
Attar Shaheed (RP #23) loses his stick as he and Zul (ITE #24) leap over Iman (ITE GK) to avoid a collision. (Photo 5 © Tan Jon Han/Red Sports)
In a neat trick, an unidentified ITE player lifts his leg in front of RP’s goalmouth to open the way for his teammate to take a shot at goal. (Photo 6 © Tan Jon Han/Red Sports)
RP’s goalkeeper Pradeep (RP #3) is in disbelief about the third goal he let in from close range. (Photo 7 © Tan Jon Han/Red Sports)
Goalkeeper beaten! But Mohd Saddam (RP #30) fumbles and fails to put the ball into an open net. (Photo 8 © Tan Jon Han/Red Sports)
Players from both teams look on as Murugan Nair (ITE #20) shoots beyond the reach of Pradeep (RP #3 GK) to score his second and the team’s 4th goal. (Photo 9 © Tan Jon Han/Red Sports)
Having scored the first through Attar Shaheed (#23), Oswind (RP #9) continued the unlikely comeback, scoring their second to make it 2-4. (Photo 10 © Tan Jon Han/Red Sports)
Ahmad Afzal (RP #76) salutes Iman (ITE GK) for his brilliance in saving his goal attempt on the line. (Photo 11 © Tan Jon Han/Red Sports)
Oswind (RP #9) and Sean Huang (RP #17) tussles with Anas Bin Ahd Malek (ITE #28) for the ball. (Photo 12 © Tan Jon Han/Red Sports)
Muhd Jumaeen (RP #5) scores one to make it a one-goal game, bringing the previously quiet crowd back to life. (Photo 13 © Tan Jon Han/Red Sports)
Pradeep (RP #3 GK) redeems himself by making a crucial save from an ITE penalty taken by Syazni (ITE #25) to deny them going up 5-3, a scenario that would have dashed any hopes of a comeback. (Photo 14 © Tan Jon Han/Red Sports)
ITE were 5 seconds from victory, only to see RP score an equalizer to force the match into extra-time where they lost through a golden goal. (Photo 15 © Tan Jon Han/Red Sports)
For more pictures of the game, go to the gallery.
If you know the names of the players mentioned or featured in the photos, please let us know in the comments section and we’ll update the captions. Thanks.
N.B. For all other fixtures and results, please go to the SCHOOLS FIXTURES & RESULTS page.