Classic Football Academy retain AIFF U-17 Youth League title!

Classic Football Academy made the best use of the set piece moves to retain the AIFF U17 Elite Youth League 2023-24 title, defeating Sudeva Delhi FC 2-1 at the Nagoa Panchayat Ground, Goa, on Saturday, May 25, 2024. All the goals came in the second half.

Played on the well-maintained turf of Nagoa in Goa, the two teams dished out a lively display of attacking football, much to the delight of the sparse crowd. Classic Football Academy were definitely the better side and were the deserving winners in the end. On the other hand, Sudeva Delhi were no easy losers and created more than one opportunity that could have altered the result of the game.

But then, Classic Football Academy, the team from Manipur, were more forthright in their approach and it made the difference. After a barren first half, Classic Football Academy opened the scoring in the 49th minute when they converted off a corner kick from the left. The ball came floating inside the six-yard box and Ningthoukhongjam Rishi jumped in the air to head home.

Given the Classic Football Academy’s approach to set pieces, the Delhi side should have been more careful, but they didn’t learn from the mistake. Seven minutes later, they once again committed the error of allowing Ahongshangbam Samson enough space with another corner kick. This time the ball came from the right and Samson evaded his marker to find the target with a simple header.

Sudeva Delhi were not ready to take things lying down and pulled one back in the 60th minute. A combined move from the right saw Ginminhao Khongsai cross inside the area for substitute Gaurav Kumar to head in.

The game turned interesting thereafter, with Sudeva Delhi making all efforts to restore parity. But Classic Football Academy, with a strong defence and a bit of luck here and there, held on to their lead till the end. In between, they, too, had their chances, but Sudeva custodian Junaid Hamid played with lots of confidence to defy the Classic Football Academy attackers.

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