By Debabrata Majumder
KOLKATA: Tata Football Acdemy pipped AIFF Elite Academy 3-2 through an extra-time own goal to clinch the title in the 120th U19 IFA Shield, here on Sunday.
In the process TFA also avenged 0-2 loss in the final of U18 I-League less than a month ago to the same opposition and earn their maiden IFA Shield title at Mohun Bagan Ground.
Elite Academy took the lead in the 16th minute through Bodo Baoringdao only for Subham Ghosh to restore parity for TFA in the 44th minute and it was Shubham who put TFA into the lead in the 72nd minute which was again equalized by Jerry Lalrianzuala in injury time. Jerry, however, added one into the back of his own net in extra-time which put an end to Elite Academy’s 31-match unbeaten streak.
Both teams started with a lot of purpose. Elite Academy got a great opportunity to take the lead in the 6th minute. But Prosenjit Chakraborty’s header off a Nijwm Muchahary cross sailed harmlessly over the bar.
TFA, on other hand, after soaking some pressure began pushing forward and almost took the lead through Senino Kuki but the striker failed to keep his effort on target in the 13th minute.
However, it was Elite Academy who drew first blood in the 16th minute when Bodo headed the ball home from a Jerry Lalrinzuala corner to give his side a well deserved lead.
Despite conceding, TFA continued to attack the rival goal and after missing some half chances equalized at the stroke of the half-time through Subham, who scored off a free-kick to tie things up before the interval.
Changing over, TFA kept the pressure on and had a few close chances through Mobasir Rahman and Firoz Khan but the Elite Academy defense managed to clear the attacks.
Elite Academy, however, almost regained their one goal advantage in the 65th minute but Prosenjit failed to capitalise after being set up by substitute Edmund Lalrindika.
Thereafter, Elite Academy continued to push up with intent but a rash challenge at the back from Jerry on Kuki handed TFA a penalty. Subham, who later adjudged man-of-the-match, stepped up and slotted past Prabhsukhan Singh to give TFA a 2-1 lead.
Trailing 1-2, the reigning U18 I-League champions took the attack on to the TFA half and equalized just a minute before the full-time through Jerry to take the match to extra-time.
Jerry, who was in thick of things for most of the evening committed a fatal error in the extra-time as he deflected a corner into his own net in the 10th minute that make it 3-2 in favour of TFA.
In the remiander of the extra-time TFA produced yet another solid defensive performance to protect their lead and crowned the new kings of the IFA Shield.
Subham was named man of the match while Bodo, who finished as the joint top scorer at the competition along side Crystal Palace’s Francis Baptitse with 6 goals, has been declared player of the tournament.