AIFF Elite Academy keen on defending U-18 I-League crown

By Shoubhik Mukhopadhyay
I-League Media

NEW DELHI: AIFF Elite Academy, the reigning champions, set the tone of U-18 I-League in their very first match when they breezed past Sports Authority of India-Goa on 31st October 2015. The prodigies Amit Tudu and Surya Tirkey found the net in their very first match and it has been a joyful ride for the Elite Academy boys since then. They are currently pitted against the dark horse Aizawl FC in the semi-final match of U-18 I-League and they might face their local rivals Salgaocar FC in the final once the Greens outplay Tata Football Academy in the other semi-final.

AIFF Elite Academy started their zonal rounds with back-to-back wins against Sports Authority of India and Dempo. In the next fixture, Flaming Oranje gave them a tough run for the money, but finally, they clinched another three points. AIFF boys came back to winning ways against Sports Authority of India in the return leg when they scored six goals, Edmund Lalrindika and Yadav Rahul netted a brace apiece. Dempo Sports Club suffered the hardest blow by the Elite Academy boys as they pummelled Dempo by a mammoth margin of 8 goals. Yadav and Edmund netted their first hat-tricks in the U-18 I-League. After registering another win against Sporting Clube de Goa in the return leg, they brushed aside Salgaocar FC in the final match of the zonal round. Ronald Oliviera got two consolation goals in the second half, but they were not enough to thwart AIFF Elite Academy from winning the duel. Bedashwar Singh, Deependra Singh, Negi, Zonunmawia, Baoringdao Bodo also netted goals against Salgaocar FC.

AIFF Elite Academy had a stupendous run in the zonal round and such was their authority in the attacking zone that they netted 34 goals in 8 matches, having conceded just 5.

The Goa outfit started their journey in the National finals in style against Sports Authority of India-Guwahati, having clinched a win by 3-0 courtesy a goal each from Baoringdao Bodo, Bedashwar Singh and Edmund Lalrindika. The next match against DSK Shivajians was a goalless draw for Elite Academy, first of its kind for them. Lonestar Kashmir could not stand against the mighty Elite Academy and it was the first occasion in the U-18 I-League when double figures were reached. Edmund, Santosh Kumar, and Prosenjit Chakroborty netted fine braces along with Surya Tirkey, Bedashwar Singh, Jerry Lalrinzuala and Yadav Rahul. They hit the right chord against Tata Football Academy, who have already secured their spot in the semi-finals, and clinched a monumental win thanks to the goals from Yadav Rahul and Amal Das.

They have continued their imperious form in the U-18 I-League National finals, having smacked 15 in 4 matches with an average of more than 3 goals per game. Floyd Pinto, the head coach of Elite Academy, is confident of winning their second consecutive age-group league, “We always prefer to play attacking football and will continue to do so. The contest will be tougher now and our boys have to prove their mettle to clinch the silverware.” He further added, “The boys are not under any sort of pressure, but they have to prove themselves worthy of the AIFF badge on their jersey.”


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