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Malabar, AVC into Group A semis Skynet Raiders, Curtorcares United draw; DHL FC edge Indian Strikers

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 10: For the first time ever five teams were vying for the two qualifications spots in Group ‘A’ prior to the final proceedings of the 13th round of the KIFF League 2012-2013. In the last of the four matches of Group ‘A’ which were held on MOH grounds at Sabah Hospital on 6th December 2013 for the Late J.P. D’Mello Rolling Trophy, Skynet Raiders drew with Curtorcares United 1-1, Malabar United beat Santos United 2-0, DHL FC edged out Indian Strikers 2-1 and AVC — Kuwait knocked out FC Sparx 3-2. In the first match between table toppers Skynet Raiders and Curtorcares United, both the teams needing a win to qualify went out in all attacking mode. In a free flowing football Curtorcares took the lead through Neves Carvalho and they could have consolidated it further had the chances been converted by their agile strikers, but Skynet managed to hold their defense firm and the score was 1-0 favoring Curtorcares at the lemon break.
In the second half Curtorcares again dominated the midfield, but failed to increase the lead. Skynet knowing that less than a win would not suffice increased the tempo and equalized through Simon who ran in through the opposition defense and scored.

At this moment the fans of both the teams expected a furious response from both sides to go blazing for the all required win, but surprisingly and to utter disappointment both the teams opted for a safety approach though Curtorcares did try in vain to surge ahead. Curtorcares midfield manned by Martin fed his strikers constantly but the end result only kept the ball boys busy.
Skynet on their part tried to absorb the pressure and were content in safeguarding their citadel from breaching further without leading a meaningful attack on the opposition. The match ended in a one all draw with both the teams bowing out of the league in a self destructive mode. Simao Gaoncar of Skynet Raiders was adjudged the Man of the Match given away by Mario Carneiro. The match was officiated by Francis.

In the second match the other qualification hopefuls Malabar United took on Santos United. Malabar United knowing fully at the onset that only an outright win can guarantee a spot in the semifinals of the KIFF League started cautiously to gauge the opposition response.
In the first half the midfield of both the teams reigned supreme with Malabar United having a slight edge. The second half started with Malabar United in an attacking mode and raided Santos United citadel continuously. Santos United put up a brave fight, but finally caved in when their defense failed to clear the lines allowing Abdul Rahim to score the opener for Malabar United.
Goaded by this goal Malabar United went for the kill and found the all important second goal when Younus Khazira beat the rival goalkeeper and slotted coolly to give his side a 2 goal lead and send Malabar United to the top of the table.
The game ended 2-0 in favor of Malabar United who booked the semifinal berth of the league in group ‘A’. Younus Khazira was awarded the Man of the Match and handed over by Praveen Kumar. The match was refereed by Sarto Baptista.

The third match of the day was an inconsequential affair between DHL FC and Indian Strikers. Indian Strikers out of the qualification spot and DHL without a win in the previous rounds started the match with a right intent.
The match was played at a leisurely pace with both the teams cautious of each other. DHL took the lead through Sandip Shirodkar in the first half and brought cheer to all the DHL fans. Indian strikers tried in vain for the equalizer but DHL defense manned by captain Elvis gave no chance.
Sandip again scored and completed his brace putting his side in a comfortable position and sensing their first win. Indian Strikers reduced the margin through Stelappan midway in the second half which created panic in DHL camp but they saw out the match and content with their first win in the league and the game ended with 2-1 in favor of DH FC.
Sandip was declared the Man of the Match for his spoils and the award was presented by Shyam Kumar, KIFF Treasurer. The match proceedings were conducted by Alvaro.
With one qualification spot yet to be bagged AVC - Kuwait took on youthful FC Sparx in the last match of the day and the group. Only an outright win could suffice AVC - Kuwait and a huge win was required for FC Sparx.

The match started on a bright note with AVC attacking FC Sparx for the opener in the initial stage of the first half. Slowly the young guns of FC Sparx found their rhythm and stunned their experienced opponents by taking the lead when Saheer found himself clear in the box and slotted past the rival goalkeeper. AVC tried to equalize but could not and the first half ended in favor of FC Sparx 1-0.
The second half started in a blistering pace set by AVC and they equalized in the 5th minute through a penalty awarded when Anthony was scythed by the opposition defense in the penalty box. Ismael made no mistake from the spot.
Knowing a draw is not sufficient AVC led a relentless attack and went ahead when Leslie Alemao rose high to head in the lead. FC Sparx were stunned by this onslaught and they caved in further when Ismail was felled by FC Sparx defense when clear on goal and Anthony made no mistake from the spot kick to consolidate the lead further.

FC Sparx created ripples in AVC camp when they reduced the margin towards the fag end of the match, but the experience of AVC - Kuwait helped them to close out the match 3-2 in their favor and storm in to the semifinals in style. Ismael was adjudged the Man of the Match for his brilliant performance and the award was handed over by Derrick Gomendes, KIFF Vice President. The match was supervised by Chistopher.
The matches were supervised by IFRA officials. Man of the Match awards for the KIFF League are sponsored by United Steel Industrial Company. The customary housie snowball was conducted by Mr. Bernard Fernandes with the prize of air ticket sponsored by Al Qattan Travels.
The schedule of KIFF League matches for Dec 13, 2013 is as follows: At 6.45 am Don Bosco Oratory vs YRC Rising Stars; 7.45 am Kerala Challengers vs United Goans; 8.45 am Real Betalbatim Football Club vs GOA Maroons; 9.45 am United Friends Club vs Kuwait Goans Association.

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