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NTU cruised ahead of SMU to clinch the 2011 SUniG Female Soccer Championships

NTU’s Brazilian Samba Queen, Debora Ziccardi (in red)  gave all sorts of problem to SMU with her dazzling runs. (Photo: SSC)

 
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) female soccer team put in a stellar performance for a 3 - 0 victory over the Singapore Management University (SMU) yesterday night to claim their third consecutive Singapore University Games (SUniG) Female Soccer championship.

Winning their previous two fixtures against the Singapore Institute of Management (6 - 0) and the National University of Singapore (3 - 2), NTU is sitting comfortably at the top of the league going into the final game.

Carrying on the momentum, NTU entered the game with guns blazing and started testing SMU’s custodian with long range efforts from outside the box by their start left winger, #17, Kuan Ren.

The bold NTU continued to press for the opening goal, moving their defence backline further up the field to stop the long balls launched by SMU and also get their strikers closer to goal.

With NTU dominating the game, SMU players grew increasing frustrated and started committing unnecessary fouls around the box which gave NTU, a team also known for their ability to score from set plays, extra opportunities to score.

SMU’s mistake eventually cost them the first goal of the match. A blind challenge gave NTU a free kick to just outside the box in the 7th minute. Players from both camps quickly gathered in the penalty box and jostled for a better position but it was NTU’s # 22 Kalyn Tung who managed to get the upper hand by directing the free kick into the back of net.

Soon after, Kalyn added another goal to her name by utilizing her striker’s instincts to take a quick shot at goal after a weak clearance, slamming it into the back of the net. The first half of the game ended, with NTU leading 2 - 0.

The second half kicked off to a furious start and there were numerous exchanges of ball possession in the centre of the field. That drive and determination from each player on the field were crucial in gaining the possession for their respective teams.

Unable to penetrate through NTU defence, SMU’s Captain, Deborah Chin had no choice but to shoulder the responsibility in organising the team on both the offensive and defensive ends to ensure that SMU were just not sitting back to defend despite having a two goal deficit.

Deborah is herself a talented winger, one who can cause headaches for any wing backs. However, the SMU coach had other plans for her for this game, tasking her to man-mark on form striker with a similar name, NTU’s #11 Debora Ziccardi from Brazil.

The foreign exchange student, nicknamed “Kaka”, possesses valuable experience and had many stints for different clubs in USA and Turkey. With that kind calibre, the special 22 year old Brazilian had to be marked by the best in SMU to avoid more goals to be conceded.

Most of the game was in the SMU half and they did have some shaky moments which were cleaned up from the back by Deborah diligently.

At the 54th minute, a delicious through ball by NTU’s superstar “Kaka”, split the SMU defence open, leaving a worst case scenario for the SMU’s custodian as she was faced by NTU’s Kuan Ren on a one versus one situation.

NTU’s speed demon, Kuan Ren, side stepped and dropped her shoulders in a feint, misleading the SMU’s custodian and subsequently drilled the ball home into the bottom right hand corner.

The timing of that third goal, which came nine minutes after the restart, illustrated the lack of concentration in the inexperienced visiting team’s ranks.

That third goal was very much the morale booster and also the possible goal to seal NTU’s bid for the championship title. NTU then took the game by the scruffs of it neck and went for an offensive formation to notch more goals.

After a miscalculated clearance by SMU conceded a row of four corner kicks to which NTU used to their advantage, it then set the stage for the NTU captain and starlet, #7, Sharda to get herself into the referee’s book for the right reason - a goal scored.

After multiple attempts at goal, Sharda only managed to sting the SMU’s custodian with a peach of a shot by thumping a volley outside the box, but was parried away by the SMU goalkeeper, in the dying minutes of the game.

NTU had won the game by three goals, making it their 3rd consecutive match won, which also means three SUniG titles. Hands were raised up in delight and in satisfaction of winning back to back games and consecutive medals.

After a debrief by NTU coach Kumar, the players broke into a victory cheer and celebrated by pouring ice on each other to mark this memorable day.

“This is a very good team with great teamwork and football knowledge. They always give their best and have great talent. My role as a Coach is very minimal as they know what they are doing on the field at all times.” Said Mr Kumar, NTU’s Coach.

Mr Kumar also shared some opinions of his captain, Sharda Parvin Binte Abdul Latiff, 26, “I feel that she has good leadership and is definitely a player to watch in the future.”

After the game, we managed to get hold of Sharda and asked her views about the game. She said, “I am delighted with the win. We could have taken a few chances when they came, but we missed a few.”

“SMU Captain (Deborah Chin) impressed me the most in today’s game and she played with me in the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Women’s League,” said the resilient Sharda when asked about who stole the show in the game according to her.

What started as a fun game with neighbours and her uncles when she was young, took a more serious twist when she turned 17 and played for the FAS Women’s League - something which she continues to do to this day.