Women's ● May 09, 2012

Heartbreak for Meridian JC as Raffles Institution steals it at the end



Despite dominating the whole seventy minutes of the game, Meridian JC, the favourites for the 2012 SSSC/FAS National Inter-School Girls Football Championship A Division, still somehow found themselves losing the game.


That decisive goal came from Raffles Institution’s No.23, left winger Koo Hui Fen, into the second minute of the three minutes added time.


And when the final whistle was blown by referee Abirami Naidu, the MJC girls collapsed in grief.


The girls from Raffles Institution though, were jumping for joy, a stark contrast to their counterparts from MJC.


Right from the start, MJC signaled their intent of winning the championship especially after they had beaten four-time defending champions in the semi-finals.


Attacking midfielders Fatin Aqillah, Abigail Tan, and Angeline Tan were leading the charge, creating chance upon chance. Fatin in particular, looked a class above.


She troubled Raffles’ goalkeeper Choo Yun Ting with her long shots a number of times, while creating tons of chances for her teammates. Each time though, her teammates failed to make full use of those.


Raffles Institution though, did not give up. They defended as a whole, with their midfielders and forwards putting in the effort to track back, while waiting for their chance to attack on the break.


They finally had a chance right after the break, when eventual goalscorer Koo made a superb solo run right into Meridian’s penalty box. Her resulting shot though, went wide.


That was the only respite the Raffles girls got from the relentless Meridian pressure.


Despite a double substitution from MJC at halftime, when they changed their front pairing with the quicker Nur Fitri and Jemima Lee coming on, it failed to bring the result they were looking for.


Nur Fitri had arguably the best chance of the game which came early in the second half. Fatin managed to cut the ball back superbly from the right, and despite being unmarked, Fitri somehow managed to miss connecting with the ball.


MJC would pay for their wastefulness, when Raffles Institution scored from just first shot on target two minutes into the injury time.


Raffles Captain Tra Thi Thai Khue, started a counter attack on the right before she drifted inwards to send a superb through ball onto the path of Koo. The seventeen year old instinctively sent in a left foot shot, and the ball ended at the back of the net after taking a wicked deflection.


Speaking after the match, Raffles Institution teacher-in-charge Leong Chee Mun carried a delighted face as the win meant that Raffles have won their first ever SSSC/FAS National Inter-School Girls Football Championship A Division trophy.


He said: “The girls played very bravely and we were the underdogs so I think they were very resilient throughout. They played as a team and kept their discipline. Despite being under a lot of pressure, they refused to give up.”


“They (Meridian JC) played very well and gave us a lot of pressure but I think my girls managed to hold them back. It’s hard to say who wanted it more because everybody also wants it more.


“We took the chance and I think in a way, we were lucky,” added Leong.


Hafiz Muhamad, Meridian JC’s coach, felt that the girls paid the price for not scoring.


“Today is the finals and I told the girls to go all out. I think they did well and kept on attacking until the last minute. The only thing that separated us (from Raffles) was that we just couldn’t score.”


“I think the players got overawed by the occasion. You can see that they were not playing in their normal way and were hesitant on the ball.”


“Even though we had the chances, we never really looked like scoring. The shots were too tame and soft,” added Hafiz.


In the 3rd/4th placing match that was played earlier, both Victoria Junior College and Millennia Institute played out an exciting match, with VJC winning on penalties.


Millennia, the underdogs, took a two-goal lead inside ten minutes through Serena Bok and Eunice Ong.  However, defending champions Victoria managed to draw level with two goals in three minutes from Chris Yip and Samatha Tan before halftime.


Chan Yi Jun gave Victoria JC their first lead of the game a few minutes after halftime, but there was to be drama as Norellynawathi Bte Hamdan equalized right at the death for Millennia.


Both teams went through twenty minutes of extra time without scoring, ensuring that the game would be decided on penalties.


Victoria JC then managed to edge out Millennia Institute 4-2 on penalties to clinch 3rd placing.