Jalan Besar Stadium, Thursday, May 23, 2013 — Victoria Junior College (VJC) beat Raffles Institution (RI) 3–2 to win the National A Division Boys’ Football Championship for the first time since 2009. VJC beat three-time defending champions Meridian Junior College 2–1 in the semi-finals, and this A Division title is their fourth in the last 10 years. RI last won the title in 2007.
While the 3–2 scoreline may suggest a close game, VJC in reality dominated and were themselves responsible for all five goals. Leading 3–0 with 18 minutes to, VJC scored an own goal when central defender Koh Jin Kai (#12) headed past his own goalkeeper Horatio Ho (#13) while trying to clear the ball away. Just a minute later, Horatio fumbled a direct free kick by Jesse Chang (#8) to gift RI a second goal to hand RI the momentum.
Up until then, VJC could just as easily have been up 5–0 after taking a 3–0 lead into the half-time break. In the second half, Nicholas Yong’s (#9) dipping effort from outside the box hit the crossbar with the RI keeper Samuel Soo (#1) beaten all the way. Nicholas then conjured up another chance with a shot from inside the penalty box that Samuel did well to palm away. The loose ball fell to Deferdauz whose follow up shot was not good enough to complete a rare final hat-trick as Samuel again saved.
Deferdauz tormented the RI defence with his speed and close control and it was no surprise that he created and scored the first two goals for VJC in the first half. Just seven minutes into the game, Deferdauz beat two RI defenders and put it past the RI keeper for the opening goal to send the 1,500-strong VJC contingent crazy.
His second came just six minutes later when he again beat two players before hitting a dipping shot from outside the box over the outstretched arms of Samuel Soo in the RI goal. Dominic Ho (#19) then almost added a third in the 23rd minute from a Deferdauz cross but RI managed to scramble it clear. However, there was no stopping Dominic in the 39th minute when he scored to give VJC a commanding 3–0 lead on the brink of half time, leaving the crowd to think a rout was on in the second half.
Then came that two minutes of madness when VJC put RI back into the game with two gift goals but RI could could not build upon VJC’s generosity even though the momentum of the game had swung their way. On a VJC counter attack in the dying minutes of the second half, substitute Rohit Singh (#11) hit the woodwork which could have settled nerves on the VJC bench. In the end, VJC managed to hold on for the last 11 minutes and when the final whistle went, there was relief mixed with joy for the VJC players.
VJC goalie and captain Horatio Ho was an especially relieved man at the end.
“I was very scared because we had let go a 3–0 lead and so they had a lot of momentum because they had scored two goals. Even though I knew it was my fault, I just tried to ignore and put on my best face,” said Horatio.
Deferdauz won the Man-of-the-Match award for his performance on the night.
“The thing I remembered was my teammates chasing me after I scored those goals. I was totally out of mind after those two goals,” said Deferdauz, who scored a total of five goals in the championship.
“I am really happy. We can really celebrate, after putting in months of hard work. We’ve been training six to nine times a week during the holidays. I think the team really deserves it. We want to dedicate this win to our teammates, Wilbert, Jonas, Ryuju, and Zach who will be leaving us. The whole team wanted it, and we wanted it ever since we started the tournament,” added Deferdauz.
In the 3rd/4th playoff game played a day earlier, Meridian Junior College beat Anglo-Chinese Junior College 1–0 to finish third.
VJC 3 RI 2
Deferdauz (#7) – 2 goals (7′, 13′)
Dominic Ho (#19) – 1 goal (23′)
Koh Jin Kai (#12) – own goal (68′)
Jesse Chang (#8) – 1 goal (69′)
Toh Jun Ze Clarence (#1), Zubair Abdullah bin Mazeli (#2), Muhammad Firdaus bin Asri (#3), Lim Jun Quan (#4), Pritesh P Kamani (#5), Zachary James Delf (#6), Muhammad Deferdauz bin Noordin (#7), Wee Cheng Hao Ryan (#8), Nicholas Yong Chung Wai (#9), Muhammad Ammar bin Mohamad Fazali (#10), Rohit Kumar Singh (#11), Koh Jin Kai (#12), Horatio James Ho (13), Ryuju Osamura (#14), Bradley Gan (#15), Leow Hong Wei Clarence (#16), Aw Wen Hao (#17), Nicholas Low (#18), Dominic Ho Wee Keong (#19), Yeoh Lai Hsin (#20)
Samuel Soo (#1), Eugene Chew (#2), Loo Wee Toh (#3), Francis Chen (#5), Abdul Hannan bin Abdul Rahman (#6), Joel Chong (#7), Jesse Chang (#8), Ron Tan (#10), Shaun Lim (#11), Brandon Sim (#14), Lek Hui Meng (#16), Isaiah Lim (#17), Benedict Tan (#9), Damian Setiadi (#13), Tan Zhi Rong (#15), Oh Wei Shen (#18), Sunjay Singh (#19), Tran Quang Tien (#21), James Lek (#23), Julian Chee (#24)
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