It was a cagey affair but the home side managed to come out on top courtesy of some brilliance from a few key men.
Real Kashmir registered their first I-League win at their home ground, scoring their first two top divison home goals in the process. The team from Kashmir scored twice against the AIFF’s development squad Indian Arrows, putting an end to their agony at the TRC Turf Ground. The win brings the Snow Leopards back to the top half of the table, at the fourth position, at least for a few hours.
Surchandra Singh opened the scoring for the home side after putting the cross from Mason Robertson into the Indian Arrows net. The second goal of the game needed a special moment of magic from Surchandra. The 24-year-old Real Kashmir midfielder crossed the ball brilliantly into the Arrows box, meeting substitute Danish Bhat, who would then set up a free header for Bazie Armand to double the lead.
Below are the talking points from the fixture:
5. Robertson a bigger threat for the opponents than Krizo
Mason Robertson seems to have been given the allowance by his dad-cum-coach David Robertson to leave the defence and surge forward from the word go. The Scottish centre-back joined the Real Kashmir forwards, helping them in pressing and winning the ball in dangerous positions. The centre-back was the creative force behind the first goal and almost scored a second himself after combining well with Gnohere Krizo in the second half.
4. Indian Arrows struggled to deal with the physical game of Real Kashmir
The youthful visitors couldn’t match the muscle of the home side
Ever since the team has come onto the scene, the lack of physicality has been a definition of the side. The game was played at a high altitude, in altogether different weather conditions and against a side physically very strong. It was never going to be an easy fixture for the young Indian youth internationals.
The youngsters struggled to deal with the Snow Leopards’ physicality so much that at times it looked as if the likes of Bazie and Krizo are having an easy ride against them. Bazie Armand had a Man of the Match performance for the team from Kashmir, while Krizo’s excessively physical challenges meant that players like Ashish Rai had to plead the Ivorian to go easy on them. It is clear that the Arrows have a lot to work to do on the physical aspects of their game.
3. Ball distribution of India Arrows better than that of Real Kashmir
Real Kashmir were heavily-dependent on long and diagonal balls from their defence and midfield for the likes of Krizo. But, the two goals that the Kashmiris scored were rather because of the wing play and excellent crossing of Robertson and Surchandra.
It was, in fact, the younger side that did well with long-balls. Rahim Ali had a clear chance to score from a long-ball that was launched by defender Anwar Ali and another similar opportunity was squandered by Vikram Pratap Singh. Had they converted those two chances which needed the forwards to beat the on-rushing Bilal Khan, the story of the game would have been different.
2. Lack of wing-play from Indian Arrows
Indian Arrows looked to be heavily-dependent on the services of Amarjit Singh Kiyam. The AIFF developmental side seemed to be waiting for their skipper to be able to find a way through the middle of the park and provide the frontline with balls to break through the home side’s defence. For most of the game, the young side seemed to have lost the idea of playing from the wings and trying to beat the opponents with pace and agility.
The stubbornness of the side in trying to find a way through the middle of the park meant that they had to wait forever to get one good pass that could give them the goalscoring opportunity they were looking for. The team from Kalinga should have asked their wingers and full-backs to be more helpful.
1. Surchandra Singh turned out to be the difference between the two teams
Surchandra scored the goal that broke the deadlock and then created another
Surchandra Singh played the best game of his season as he turned out to be the difference between the two sides. Surchandra scored the goal that broke the deadlock and then created another for his side to ensure the three points.
For a team that has been looking at their forward line for goals in the last three games at home, a midfielder turned stepped up and took the lead. Surchandra was also excellent in the midfield partnering Bazie and blocking all the attacks of the Indian Arrows from the centre. It was a game that he would not want to forget.