Story by Cara Wong/Red Sports. Photos by Stefanus Ian/Red Sports and Lee Yu En/Red Sports

Javier Chua (NYJC#1) scoring the winning penalty to clinch third place for NYJC. (Photo © Lee Yu En/Red Sports)

Javier Chua (NYJC#1) scoring the winning penalty to clinch third place for NYJC. (Photo 1 © Lee Yu En/Red Sports)

Jalan Besar Stadium, Wednesday, May 9, 2018 — In one of the season’s most exciting matches, Nanyang Junior College (NYJC) narrowly edged out Millennia Institute (MI) on penalties, after the game ended 1-1 in normal time, to retain its third placing in this year’s National A Division Football Championship.

Both teams were evenly matched all the way through extra time and the following penalty shootout, and it took a sudden death penalty shootout round for NYJC to emerge top with Javier Chua (NYJC #1) scoring the decisive goal. NYJC eventually won the penalties with a score of 5-4. This is the second consecutive year NYJC came in third.

Despite dominating the play for much of the match, the NYJC team lagged behind in the first half after MI’s Amrin Taufan (MI #2) broke through his defender to place a low shot neatly past the keeper at the 16th minute.

The team came back stronger in the second half, with Banbury Lee (NYJC #12) making several attempts at the goal. But it was Ashvinath (NYJC #8) who finally scored the equaliser.

The second-year student capitalised on a missed clearance by MI’s skipper Mukundan Malaiya Maran (MI #13) and reacted the quickest to volley the ball into an empty goal, late in the second half of the game.

“He’s the most improved player since last year, last year he didn’t start any games, and this year he’s in the first 11,” said captain Ahmad Mirza (NYJC #17)

“The thing that made him improve the most was his passion and his heart.”

His goal also cemented the team’s turning point in the game. Ahmad noted that a pep talk during halftime revived their spirits.

“The first half, we were a bit shaky, we weren’t composed as much, then after the team talk, we went to the second half full of confidence; we played our usual game and stuck to the plan,” added Ahmad.

With a tied score of 1-1, the game progressed to extra time where both schools came close to goals, but were denied by the posts or the goalkeepers. The following penalty shootout yielded no clear winner, and it all came down to the final round of the sudden death penalty shootout.

Scoring the decisive goal was Javier Chua (NYJC#1), whose successful attempt ended a long series of back-and-forths between the two evenly matched teams.

“I felt like I had to step up for the team. I put the nervousness aside and I prayed to God and my mom, and then I was able to pull through and score the winning goal,” said Javier.

Despite MI’s loss at the game, coach Michael Adams remained pleased with the team’s fourth placing as this is the first time in MI’s history that they have made it to the top four.

“For me as their coach, they gave their all, played according to instructions, and you know we just ran out of luck in the penalty

“I’m proud of them, very very proud of them, and they can only get better.”

Likewise, MI’s captain, Mukundan Malaiya Maran (MI #13), was proud of his team for holding out until the penalties stage.

“Unlike a lot of other schools that have DSA players… we don’t have DSA, so a lot of the players come into the school playing football for the first time,” said Mukundan.

“The fact that within this small amount of time they are able to progress and make it to the top four is already something that’s very commendable.”

Half time: 0-1
Full time: 1-1
Penalties: 5-4

Amrin Taufan (#2)

Ashvinath (#8)

Penalty Scorers:
Banbury Lee (#12)
Ashvinath (#8)
Liam Wei-Shan Breen (#6)
Kagitani Jo (#10)
Javier Chua (#1)

Louis Joel Chng (#14)
Sanchay (#12)
Mohammed Riaz (#15)
Mukundan Malaiya Maran (#13)

MI Roster:
Neil Sharma (#1), Amrin Taufan (#2), Muhammad Shakir (#3), Kenneth Tan (#4), Muhamad B Azli (#5), Mohamad Amir Arsyad (#6), Mohamed Nausath (#7), Javier Wee (#8), Zahier B Zulkiflee (#9), Darshan S/O Ravujee (#10), Ibrahim B Halil (#11), Sanchay (#12), Mukundan Malaiya Maran (#13), Louis Joel Chng (#14), Mohammed Riaz (#15), Collin Peh (#16), Aung Khant Min (#17), Tan Jing Wah (#18), Azhar B Musa (#19), Harits Dzakir (#20)

NYJC Roster:
Javier Chua (#10, Ching Kwun Hei (#2), Kelvin Xu (#3), Muhammad Raihan (#4), Xavier Teo (#5), Liam Wei-Shan Breen (#6), Jerome Hoo (#7), Ashvinath (#8), Marcellinus Jerricho (#9), Kagitani Jo (#10), Neo Wei Yang (#11), Banbury Lee (#12), Samuel Yow (#13), Rohith S/O Ravichandran (#14), Julio Agustin Punsalan Tan (#16), Ahmad Mirza (#17), Hernandes Lim (#18), Justin Chai (#19), Muhammad Amirul Hakim (#21), Shaked Shalev (#23)

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