The Singapore NFA Under-16 took on Eintracht in a must win Group A game. The local boys needed to win by a two goal margin to ensure their progress into the next stage of the competition.
And it was the NFA team who started with more drive and impetus. They created a number of chances in the opening five minutes.
Jalan Besar Stadium erupted in the eight minute when Irfan Fandi took advantage of a mistimed clearance by an Eintracht defender and showed good composure to slot home past Christian Seemann. It was the young striker’s second goal of the Canon Lion City Cup.
With Amiruldin Asraf causing all sorts of trouble on the right wing for the Eintracht left-back Cedric Heller and the home crowd backing them, the NFA boys looked an very motivated side.
In the 19 minute, forward Andin Addie then capitalised on Eintracht’s hesistant defense again. A deflected cross found Andin on the right and he duly smashed the ball into the net.
A series of fouls affected the flow of the game but Eintracht midfielder Ahmed Diack had a good chance to get a goal back for his team when set up by Yves Vital Mfumu but shot wide.
In the middle of the park, midfielder Gareth Low showed good awareness. The Under-16 captain was constantly breaking up his opponent’s attacks and spreading play to his teammates. In the heart of defense, Adam Hakeem marshaled his team well.
The last five minutes of the first half saw a disallowed goal for Eintracht and a slight clash of heads between Irfan and Seemann.
The second half started with Eintracht pushing further up the pitch in the opening minutes in hope of a comeback. Left-back Cedric Heller fired a thunderbolt which fizzed past the crossbar.
In the 44 minute, Irfan thought he had gotten his second goal of the match but was correctly ruled offside.
In the 53 minute, Amiruldin once again found himself racing clear past the Eintracht defense but Seemann spotted the danger early and collected the ball.
Knowing that qualification was at stake, coaches from both teams – Robin Chitrakar (NFA) and Abdessamad El Messaaoudi (Eintracht), prowled the technical area screaming instructions to their boys.
Nils Herdt had a glorious opportunity to score with a point-blank header at the far post in the 60 minute. But NFA goalkeeper Zharfan Rohaizad produced an outstanding save with an outstretch right arm.
Impressive defending by Adam and Man-of-the-Match Thaniyath Vishaal saw the NFA backline hold their own against their German opponents.
There was a heart-stopping moment for NFA Under-16 when substitute Marvin Diehl’s low cross found Lukas Rodwald with an open goal at his mercy. But incredibly, the midfielder shot wide.
Then in the 78 minute, came the goal that broke Singapore’s hearts. A long ball over the defense found Diehl. With fresh legs, the defender accelerated clear before driving an unstoppable shot into goal.
3 minutes of stoppage time was not enough for the NFA Under-16s to find another goal and at the final whistle contrasting scenes filled the stadium.
Most of the NFA boys slumped to the ground in disappointed while coach Abdessamad lept from the Eintracht’s bench with a joyous scream of celebration.
“For me, the game is only finish when the referee says so. We knew we would get chances in the second half,” said Abdessamad.
A visibly downcast Robin Chitrakar expressed his disappointment after the match.
“We did well in the first half. It is heartbreaking to win the match and not qualify. The mood in the dressing room wasn’t the best. There were some tears from the players. But this team needs to build on their performance in this tournament and progress.”
Eintracht goal scorer Diehl was a last minute replacement for Kosovian player Onur Kazazi. The former took the opportunity to dedicate his goal to his teammate who was not able to gain entry into Singapore.
“It’s a great feeling to score the goal. I am happy that the team are through. I would like to send my greetings to Onur because I replaced him at the last minute.”
Eintracht will now face PSV in the second semi-final on Friday, 14 June 2013, at 8:25PM while Arsenal play Corinthians in the first semi-final at 6:00PM.