Story by Noor Farhan/Red Sports. Pictures by Leslie Tan/Red Sports
The Innova captain fires one at the ACS(INT) goal. (Photo 1 © Les Tan/Red Sports)
Meridian Junior College, Friday, April 1, 2011 — The sombre post-match mood in the Anglo-Chinese School (International) camp said it all after they suffered a heart-breaking 2-1 defeat at the hands of Innova Junior College (IJC) in the National A Division Football Championship.
Fabian Yeo’s 10th minute goal for ACS (INT) was cancelled out by Lee Young Ho’s goal in the second half, with Arif Khairul Tan adding to Innova’s tally minutes later.
It was the second defeat for ACS (INT), after suffering a 10-0 thrashing at the hands of defending champions Meridian Junior College in their opening game earlier in the week.
It was ACS who started the game positively, as they sought to win the midfield battle early. Lionel Liew (ACS) had a good effort hitting the side netting in the 8th minute, after finding some space past the Innova defence.
Innova’s inability to settle down first cost them dearly when ACS midfielder Fabian Yeo got past a static Innova defence after 10 minutes of play to send a low shot across Innova keeper Arun Vinoth to score the first goal.
The Innovans poured forward in response as they searched for the equaliser, with dangermen Kartikasen as well as Istar Sulaiman combining well to take several potshots at the ACS goal midway into the first half.
ACS almost hit back on the counter, capitalising on Innova’s overlapping right-back who left space for Georgios Tan and Fabian Yeo to exploit.
Georgios’ effort on the half-hour mark got the better of the shaky Arun Vinoth in the Innova goal, but his finishing left much to be desired.
Innova’s players had a much better second half as they took the game to their opponents, but could not make their chances count.
In the 53rd minute, good work by Innova down the left flank sent Lee Young Ho clean through past the ACS rearguard. However, Young Ho’s hasty execution saw him miss a clear cut chance to put his team level.
He soon made amends two minutes later with a looping header over ACS custodian Victor Ng to score the equaliser despite Lionel Liew’s valiant attempt to clear off the line.
ACS then conceded again, this time failing to contain Arif Khairul Tan, who was at the right place and time to place a timely shot past Victor Ng to score the winning goal for Innova Junior College.
“We were playing well, had some good passing going. Fabian, our left winger, had a good game,” said Daryl Lim, who came on as a substitute on the hour mark for ACS.
“The turning point was when they scored their first goal, after which our momentum dropped. When they scored their second goal, our momentum dropped even further,” he added.
Innova forwward Karthikasen acknowledged his team did not have a good first half.
“We had a slow start for IJC, the weather was very hot today but (then again) that isn’t a good excuse for our performance in the first half,” said Karthikasen.
” We got (scolded) by our coach at the break, which was a wake up call for us to perform well in the second half,” he added.
“Also in the second half, the coach wanted us to be more attacking, and so he made some tactical changes to suit the game (after half-time).”
“We have a game against Jurong Junior College next, which is going to be a tough game, but luckily we have a break over the weekend,” said ACS coach Sukardi.
“One of the positives we can take from this game is the experience of playing in the 3 o’clock weather, and I hope the boys can perform well in their next match,” he added.
Innova will next take on National Junior College on Tuesday, April 5th while ACS will take on Jurong Junior College on the same day. Both games will be played at Meridian Junior College.
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