The youngsters from the 127-year-old Kolkata-based club Mohamedan Sporting Club have already shut their critics having fixed a final date with none other than Minerva Punjab FC who have run amok in their way to the final of the U13 Youth League.
Be it the youth league or the holy grail of Indian Football, whatever the Punjab-based club have touched this season, turned into gold. While the youngsters got the better of DSK Shivajians to clinch the U15 Youth League title, their senior counterparts triumphed the I-League trophy.
Nonetheless, the 13-year-olds have to start afresh when they face Mohammedan SC at their own backyard Vidyasagar Stadium in Barasat tomorrow (May 8, 2018). The kick-off is scheduled at 05:00 pm.
Having stunned SAI East Zone 2-0 in the semifinal, the Young Panthers will need to pull off an even greater shock in order to deny the Minervans the trophy, who grounded high-flying Sudeva FC 5-0 to book their place in the finale.
Mohammedan SC like to play counter-attacking football, as they soak up pressure for long periods before launching the ball forward to their speedy attackers up front. This, especially, suits the midfield mainstay Mohammed Zeedan to a tee, as well as Sujay Budhuk and Nabakumar Santra, all of who use their pace to occupy space behind opponents.
We can discuss Mohmmedan SC’s speed on offence all day long, but the unity and discipline of their backline are somewhat frightening. Led by Irfan Mondal, Wasid Ali, Aftab Ali and Anisur Rahaman, the Young Panthers backline should give Minerva problems throughout the match.
“Tomorrow’s game is extremely important because we want to win and crown our efforts. It will be premature to say how we would approach the match but I can say it will be a good game. Everything is possible on the field and if it needs us to play our best football in the tournament we will”, Mohammedan SC Head Coach Ananta Kumar Ghosh said.
“We respect Minerva because they are good that is why they made it to the final but we have a good group of players which is ready to get us the win. We have good players with the good qualities and we have to show that in the final. Despite the Minerva team being strong we have what it takes to win and keep the trophy here.”
“If we can win this one then it will be huge for our fans. We want to do it for them,” added Ghosh.
On the other hand, Minerva’s dominance in the tournament has been unmatched, outscoring opponents by a 19-1 margin. The Anthony Andrews-coached side has based their game on a solid defence that hasn’t conceded since their final round opener against BBFS.
With only one goal conceded, the Minervas have U-13 Youth League’s meanest defence and relied on the brilliance of Tongbram Maheron Singh up front to make it to the final.
Though Maheron has deservedly taken many of the plaudits in the tournament, Longjam Swami Singh and Himanshu Jangra have often been just as important to many of Minerva’s winning efforts.
The big question is, will Minerva try to press the pace right from the start, or sit back looking to capitalize on any Mohammedan SC mistakes. It will be also interesting to see how Minerva will deploy in the defensive half to counter Mohammedan SC’s speed on the counter, which gave SAI fits all night when the Young Panthers stunned them on Sunday night.