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'A Div' football: VJC secures first title since 2009 with win over RI

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Deferdauz (#7) of VJC was the toast of the team with two well-taken goals in the first half. Jesse Chang (#8, right) of RI scored in the second half from a direct free kick to reduce the VJC lead to 3–2 and set up a tense final 11 minutes. (Photo by Les Tan/Red Sports).

Jalan Besar Stadium, Thursday, May 23, 2013 — Victoria Junior College (VJC) beat Raffles Institution (RI) 3–2 to win the National A Division Boys' Football Championship for the first time since 2009. VJC beat three-time defending champions Meridian Junior College 2–1 in the semi-finals, and this A Division title is their fourth in the last 10 years. RI last won the title in 2007.

While the 3–2 scoreline may suggest a close game, VJC in reality dominated and were themselves responsible for all five goals. Leading 3–0 with 18 minutes to, VJC scored an own goal when central defender Koh Jin Kai (#12) headed past his own goalkeeper Horatio Ho (#13) while trying to clear the ball away. Just a minute later, Horatio fumbled a direct free kick by Jesse Chang (#8) to gift RI a second goal to hand RI the momentum.

Up until then, VJC could just as easily have been up 5–0 after taking a 3–0 lead into the half-time break. In the second half, Nicholas Yong's (#9) dipping effort from outside the box hit the crossbar with the RI keeper Samuel Soo (#1) beaten all the way. Nicholas then conjured up another chance with a shot from inside the penalty box that Samuel did well to palm away. The loose ball fell to Deferdauz whose follow up shot was not good enough to complete a rare final hat-trick as Samuel again saved.

Deferdauz tormented the RI defence with his speed and close control and it was no surprise that he created and scored the first two goals for VJC in the first half. Just seven minutes into the game, Deferdauz beat two RI defenders and put it past the RI keeper for the opening goal to send the 1,500-strong VJC contingent crazy.

His second came just six minutes later when he again beat two players before hitting a dipping shot from outside the box over the outstretched arms of Samuel Soo in the RI goal. Dominic Ho (#19) then almost added a third in the 23rd minute from a Deferdauz cross but RI managed to scramble it clear. However, there was no stopping Dominic in the 39th minute when he scored to give VJC a commanding 3–0 lead on the brink of half time, leaving the crowd to think a rout was on in the second half.

Relief and Joy

Then came that two minutes of madness when VJC put RI back into the game with two gift goals but RI could could not build upon VJC's generosity even though the momentum of the game had swung their way. On a VJC counter attack in the dying minutes of the second half, substitute Rohit Singh (#11) hit the woodwork which could have settled nerves on the VJC bench. In the end, VJC managed to hold on for the last 11 minutes and when the final whistle went, there was relief mixed with joy for the VJC players.

Deferdauz won the Man-of-the-Match award for his performance on the night.

"The thing I remembered was my teammates chasing me after I scored those goals. I was totally out of mind after those two goals," said Deferdauz, who scored a total of five goals in the championship.

"I am really happy. We can really celebrate, after putting in months of hard work. We've been training six to nine times a week during the holidays. I think the team really deserves it., added Deferdauz.

In the 3rd/4th playoff game played a day earlier, Meridian Junior College beat Anglo-Chinese Junior College 1–0 to finish third.

The above is an excerpt from Red Sports. To view the full article, visit this link.
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