AVC, UFC, Strikers still in contention Santos hold mighty Raiders

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 3: Santos United held mighty Skynet Raiders, while AVC Sports and Cultural Association, United Friends Club and Indian Strikers registered comfortable wins in the penultimate week of matches in the league stage of the KIFF league for the J.P. D’Mello Trophy organized by Kuwait Indian Football Federation and played last Friday at the MOH Grounds in Shuwaikh. In an important qualification match, AVC overwhelmed CRC Chinchinim 6-0 in a largely one sided match that both teams had to win to qualify for the quarterfinal stage. Strong title contenders, AVC took complete control of the match right from the start with Liston Raju along with Vincy controlling and dictating terms in the defense. In form Kevin Vaz, Savio Fernandes, Anthony Rodrigues, Reagen, Sydney Monteiro and Melwin scored to ensure AVC who have the same points as Goa Maroons, topped Group D on better goal difference. Diminutive Sydney Monteiro was declared Man of the Match and received his award sponsored by Integrated Logistics Company, from the hands of ex-Salgaocar player Pascoal Fernandes.


In the second match at 8:15am, DHL FC, last year’s runners-up, needing only a draw in Group C went down fighting to a strong United Friends club (UFC) 0-2. In the group of death which also featured last year’s champions Don Bosco Oratory who failed to qualify, UFC needed a win to ensure progress to the next round and ever dependable Remedio put them in the lead in the first half when towered above the DHL defense and headed brilliantly of a corner kick taken by new signing Elvis. John Kennedy added a second when the DHL keeper misjudged his shot from just outside the penalty area. DHL came back strongly in the second half, with Binoj and Terence playing their hearts out, but it was the ever dependable Martin Dias in the UFC goal who stood in their way. Martin who pulled off at least three important saves was declared man of the match and received his award from Pravin Kumar the President of Sparks Football Club.


Shaun Pereira and Peter D’souza were the stars for Santos United who went on to secure a famous 2-2 draw against their more fancied opponents Skynet Raiders. Skynet Raiders needing a win to have any chance of qualification for the next stage were in for a surprise when the very talented Shaun Pereira put Santos United in the lead in the first half after a dazzling solo run. Dominic of Skynet equalized, but Santos United took the lead again through Peter D’Souza. Just when it seemed that Santos United would secure full points, Manual DÁosta found the unexpected equalizer for Skynet Raiders when his cross was fumbled by Santos keeper and the ball slipped into the goal. The draw meant that Skynet Raiders and Santos United both failed to qualify in Group B. Young Shaun Pereira was declared the man of the match and received his award from Mr. V. K. Vohra, the ex-president of KIFF.


In the last match of the day, Indian Strikers shocked Curtorcares United 2-0 in an engaging match that effectively ended the campaign of Curtorcares United in Group A. Needing at least a draw, Curtorcares United missing a few important players who are on vacation were no match for the strong and skilful Indian Strikers. Lawrence and Haris Kunnammal scored for Indian Strikers. Aivey Kochappiley of Indian Strikers who was a constant threat to the Curtorcares defense was rightly awarded the Man of the Match Award and received it from Tome Gracias , an important patron of soccer activates in Kuwait.
Coming Friday, Dec 7, the last match between Kerala Challengers and Skynet Raiders will be played at 6:30am to decide the finals standings in Group B.


 The eight teams that have now qualified for the knock out stage are: Group A: Indian Strikers and Real Betalbatim, Group B: Kerala Challengers and Navelim Youth Centre, Group C: United Friends Club and Kuwait Goan Association, Group D: AVC and Goa Maroons. Friday will also see the start of the KIFF affiliated United Goans Centre regular eleven a side tournament with the inaugural match being played between Goa Maroons and Santos United at 8:30am followed by Navelim Youth Centre versus Don Bosco Oratory at 10:15am.
 

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