AIFF Media Team
Kolkata: AIFF Elite Academy and East Bengal both are aiming to win the U-18 I-League 2016-17 when they meet in the final at Barasat Stadium in Kolkata on Sunday (May 7, 2017).
AIFF Elite Academy will be chasing their third successive title while East Bengal look set to capture their first U-18 I-League title, making their maiden final appearance.
On the scale of performances, nothing much to separate the two sides as Elite Academy and East Bengal reached the final after beating strong opponents in semifinals.
While Elite Academy secured their spot in the final after surviving a marathon penalty shootout against United Sports Club all thanks to their custodian Samik Mitra who made three saves in the shootout, East Bengal edged past Salgaocar FC courtesy a fine brace from Suranjit Singh plus a goal from Bidyashagar Singh.
Elite Academy coach Floyd Pinto sounded confident ahead of the summit clash, “There is absolutely no pressure on the team. The team has confidence in its ability to win the final against East Bengal.”
“It will be a tough game against a strong team but I can assure all that players are ready. My players have shown that they are hungry for victory and the title. I am proud of my players and what they have shown during this tournament. It will be great if the end they win the title.” the 31-year-old coach added.
Elite Academy love to sit back and plan their moves to the opposition. They have frustrated many teams with this style of play as they latch quick counter attacks orchestrated by their skipper Edmund Lalrindika.
Furthermore, the likes of Zonunmawia, Lalengzama Vangchhia, Naorem Roshan Singh and Amal Das will add depth to the squad.
On the other hand, East Bengal who are carrying the advantage of being the home side has been a joy to catch in the tournament with excellent teamwork display.
The Red and Golds are quick off the blocks on both flanks with a solid midfield marshalled by Prakash Sarkar and Yami Longvah. The strike pair of Lalcchanhima and Suranjit can tear apart any defence on their day.
“The team is prepared and there are no worries as far as the fitness of the players are concerned. I am very happy with the progress of my team, which has shown great improvement match after match. We have a great deal of respect for AIFF Elite Academy but I know my players are capable of winning the title.” said East Bengal coach Tarun Dey.
The match kicks-off at the Barasat Stadium in Kolkata at 3:30 PM tomorrow (May 7, 2017).