Story by Alyssa Almas/Red Sports. Photos by REDintern Clara Lau.
Choa Chu Kang Stadium, Monday, April 15, 2019 — Jurong Pioneer Junior College (JPJC) saw St. Joseph’s Institution (SJI) off 3-0 in the preliminary round of the A Division Boys’ Football Championships to rise to second on the table, cementing their position in the round of eight.
The game was a deciding match for both teams — JPJC had to claim a draw to advance to the next round, while SJI had to clinch a win.
Despite being a team in its first year of conception since the merger between Jurong Junior College and Pioneer Junior College, JPJC captain Tan Sze Young (JPJC #17) maintained his faith and belief in the team.
“Yes I had faith in my team — during the friendlies we played leading up to the A Division, we played really well, which boosted our confidence greatly,” he said. “We faced some challenges since two of our first team players were out due to injuries before this deciding match, but I felt that we managed to cope well and overcome this obstacle.”
JPJC entered the game determined and focused, with an opening goal in the fourth minute of play.
With a throw-in close to goal, the SJI defenders were unable to clear the ball quickly enough, allowing Oon Jin Peng (JPJC #6) to run forward. Driving a low ball into the back of the net, Jin Peng’s goal was just out of reach of SJI’s keeper Loet Low (SJI #20).
Five minutes later, SJI were awarded a free kick from the midfield, taken by Christopher Ong (SJI #16). Unfortunately, his effort sailed high over the crossbar, ensuring the score stayed at 1-0.
In the 16th minute, JPJC almost widened their lead with a simple pass into goal. Reacting quickly, SJI defender Jonathan Gan Dombrowski (SJI #5) ran back and cleared the ball right on the line, drawing cheers from his fellow teammates.
However, the elation was short-lived as JPJC scored their second of the match with a solo run by Samuel Ng (JPJC #7).
Dribbling through the SJI defense, Samuel managed to shake off the defenders before hammering the ball towards the far post. His initial shot rebounded off the post, but Samuel was quick to react, slamming his rebound square into the goal.
In the 23rd minute, SJI had a chance to score their first goal of the match. The free kick taken again by Christopher (SJI #16) was punched away by JPJC keeper Javier Neo (JPJC #1), with the rebound shot straight again at Javier, maintaining the score.
At half-time, the score stood at 2-0.
The second half was an improvement for the SJI players — they were attacking more than in the first half, and continued fighting hard despite tailing behind.
When asked what he had told the team, SJI team captain Muhammad Zulkhairi (SJI #7) said: “I told the team that if we wanted the result, we have to show it in our hunger and approach to the game. To stick to the plan and play for the badge. To go all out, 100% in everything because every pass, every shot, every tackle counts.”
In the 45th minute, SJI almost scored when Muhammad El’fee (SJI #10) took a shot at goal from outside the box. However, his shot rolled mere inches from the far post, drawing shouts of frustration from the SJI players.
JPJC almost widened their lead in the 67th minute through Wan Hazmi (JPJC #10). Hazmi’s shot at goal hit the post, but there were no players in the box to collect the rebound.
Eight minutes later, in the 75th minute, Hazmi finally got his goal with a simple tap-in.
Having dribbled past the SJI defense, the SJI keeper committed too early as well, leaving the goal wide open for Hazmi to easily pass the ball into the net.
In the 80th minute, SJI almost scored a goal from a header by Julian Tay (SJI #9). However, his attempt went wide of the net.
With the sound of the referee’s whistle, the final score stood at 3-0.
Pleased with his team’s showing, Sze Young said: “I feel very proud of my team for giving their best. Their hard work paid off as we are able to qualify for the next round which is an achievement for all of us. I also feel that SJI really gave their best for this match so I would like to thank them for putting up a good fight against us. Shout out to our keeper Javier (JPJC #1) who was our man of the match!”
Despite the loss, Zulkhairi (SJI #7) had good things to say about his team.
“It was hard fought, but obviously the result didn’t go our way. It’s a waste I guess but everyone left everything on the field and that’s what matters. Considering the circumstance that we were in, the way we played and carried ourselves was highly commendable and I’m just immensely proud of this bunch of players,” he said.
With their journey in the A Division over, Zulkhairi had words of thanks for the support system available to the team throughout the year.
“Major thanks to Coach Zul and Coach Kadir for helping prepare us as much as possible for the tournament. Thanks to the teachers-in-charge Mr Heng and Mr Teoh for guiding us through this journey,” he said. “Big props to the boys for wanting to compete, and playing with pride and fighting spirit all the way through till the final whistle. And last but not least, huge thanks to the parents and supporters that came down every match to show their support for the boys and the team.”
With his team’s qualification for the round of eight sealed, Sze Young said: “I’m really proud of the team for coming so far, you guys really played your heart out, so let’s continue to work hard and go even further! Majulah JP!”
Jurong Pioneer Junior College vs St. Joseph’s Institution
Oon Jin Peng (#6) — 1 goal
Samuel Ng (#7) — 1 goal
Wan Hazmi (#10) — 1 goal
Javier Neo (#1), Shin Khant Min Kyi (#4), Oon Jin Peng (#6), Samuel Ng (#7), Cheong Jun Han (#8), Matthew Saw (#9), Wan Hazmi (#10), Levin Anto Sekar (#11), Choi Min Jun (#13), Rizq Firdaus (#14), Joshua Yew (#15), Tan Sze Young (#17), Muhammad Rusyaidi (#18), Lionel Ang (#19), Mohamed Marzuc (#21), Adzel Ardean (#23), Eugene Lew (#27), Ryan Ilyas (#28), Shankar Shanmuga (#30), Muhammad Ijtihad (#44)
Jedd Tan (#1), Saajan Chris Babu (#4), Jonathan Gan Dombrowski (#5), Ian Tan (#6), Muhammad Zulkhairi (#7), Devan Nair (#8), Julian Tay (#9), Muhammad El’fee (#10), Choo Yi Xiang (#11), Moses Tan (#14), Jonathan Cong-Wei Rama (#15), Christopher Ong (#16), Khayri Hamza (#17), Muhammad Amirul Hamim (#18), Kyes Gaffoor (#19), Loet Low (#20), Aryan Sunil Singh (#22), Christian Elijah Low (#23), Matthew Gan (#33), Ashley Tan (#48)
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