THREE SECOND HALF GOALS scored in quick succession saw the match between Army XI and Southern Samity come to a pulsating finish at Barasat today. After going down by a goal to a 10-man Army XI, Southern Samity rose to the challenge, clinching the Calcutta Football League tie 2-1.
Even though Army came into the match arguably as the favourites, riding on their win against BNR in their first match (while Southern only managed to draw their first two matches), things went wrong for them pretty early on.
It was the 10th minute and Southern's Sankar had crept close to the Army penalty box with the ball. Army keeper Sarat dutifully leapt at him and took him out. The referee flashed him the red card and Army were down to 10 men.
After quickly introducing substitute goalkeeper Zaman, Army XI took a few minutes to get their act together. In spite of being a man down, their defence was functioning well, and they even mounted some attacks. Towards the end of halftime the Southern defence looked troubled. Army medio Vipin got a good bicycle kick on a ball and sent it shooting towards the target but a diving Southern keeper Arindam managed to divert it for a corner. At the end of the first half it was still 0-0, but breaking of that deadlock seemed imminent.
Army began the second half with the resolve to not let the numerical deficit hold them back. They kept working the midfield, cautiously looking for a chance to invade Southern territory. And the strategy bore fruit when after 70 minutes of regulation time Army striker Jain P let fly from a distance, and caught Arindam off guard. Army were 1-0 up and now needed to defend their lead, which proved to be rather difficult as their numerical disadvantage was laid bare when a desperate Southern Samity went all out looking for an equalizer.
Barely 10 minutes later Southern were even. Waheed's long range turf-kisser went past Zaman and the game came alive as both sides went all out for a winner.
And it came. Five minutes later, in favour of Southern Samity. Snehashish, who played vital roles in securing the two draws for his team, this time came to deliver the winning blow. The Army defence was once again caught wanting as newly introduced substitute Torres managed to breach the defence line and Snehashish carried out the deed. In the end, Southern managed to get a memorable win over Army and the first 3-point outing of their CFL campaign. Torres was awarded the Man of the Match award for his short but effective spell.
This continues Southern Samity's unbeaten run (5 points from 3 games) and sends them to the top of the table for the time being, bearing further testimony to the reputation of CFL being a league full of surprises. Army have suffered their first defeat of the season, but they are expected to dust themselves off and carry on preparing for their next battle, as an army is pretty much supposed to do.