Victoria JC close in on semi-final spot
VJC deserve come-from-behind win and now eye semi-final spot
A DIVISION BOYS' GROUP Y
MILLENNIA INSTITUTE 1
VICTORIA JUNIOR COLLEGE 2
They gave it their all and, when they heard the final whistle, the Victoria Junior College (VJC) footballers all dropped onto the Millennia Institute pitch, the exhaustion of a gruelling 90 minutes of action all but evident.
They did get their reward, though, beating Millennia Institute (MI) 2-1 in their A Division Boys' National Schools' Group Y clash yesterday to move a step closer to a spot in the semi-finals.
In a match where both teams were guilty of spurning chances and poor passing, the VJC players worked their socks off in an evenly contested game.
Coach Tan Yew Hwee was disappointed that his side were unable to capitalise more on the chances they created, but he was pleased with the effort they put in.
Speaking after the match, Tan said: "The boys played their hearts out today. Of all the matches we have played this year, this is the match where they gave everything they had and I could see that they really tried hard and wanted to win badly.
"I'm happy with their performance today and I hope they can carry this effort on to their next game."
One player who stood out was VJC striker Karuppiah Arasu.
The 18-year-old's tireless running benefited his team both offensively and defensively.
Arasu gave his teammates an outlet with his intelligent runs and he also hustled and harried his opponents into conceding possession in their own half on a number of occasions and was the catalyst for many of VJC's counter-attacks.
"I just want to help my team win in whatever way I can and I believe that if everyone works hard, we can get the result that we want, "said Arasu.
Millennia started off on the front foot, pinning the VJC players into their own half and carving out a few chances.
Their sustained pressure paid off in the 37th minute, when captain Abu Isa capitalised on a poor clearance by the VJC defence to eventually head the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper Ahmad Taufiq.
The old adage, "You are at your most vulnerable when you have just scored", reared its head when VJC equalised two minutes later.
The Millennia defenders failed to clear their lines and a bouncing ball was duly smashed into the back of the net via Arasu's spectacular scissor-kick.
The equaliser rattled the Millennia players and they conceded yet again in the 41st minute.
A corner kick was not dealt with properly and Desmond Chia was on hand to nod in a simple header at the back post to give his team the lead.
Millennia went for broke in the second half and created a number of chances, but VJC's resolute defending helped them to come away with all three points.
The win set up a tasty encounter against Meridian Junior College and coach Tan warned his players they needed to be much better defensively to stand a chance.
"Our next opponents are going to be our toughest opponents and, if we give them the same chances that we did to Millennia today, we are going to be in for a hard time," he said.
"We need to work hard, make fewer mistakes and be more clinical.
"Hopefully, we can get the desired result and progress to the semis."