Zaki Ali Mavani
Match-day today was against Westwood Park Jets – the players and parents were keen and eager to build on the good performances from the first two games. Everyone arrived early, ready for a quick start. The Eagles made a fast start, forcing Westwood to defend – then came some dynamic midfield play from Abbas Rajvani, who was making some excellent direct runs – his quick footwork forced a foul just outside the area. Up steps Ali N who struck-it sweetly beyond the keepers reach – but it hit the post. The rest of the quarter was even, with neither team managing to get many chances on goal. 1st quarter ends 0-0
The second quarter started the same way, a very even game – Westwood made a tactical change bringing on Theo #9. As the quarter went-on Westwood grew in confidence and started to dominate the play however Jabir Merali stayed strong in defence with Hussein Bhaloo. Theo had two great chances where he outpaced the Eagles defence – and would have scored if Abbas Rajvani hadn’t anticipated the situation, and cleared the danger. Second quarter ends 0-0
After long team-talk over the half-time break. The coaches tried to think of a way to break the deadlock. Some good play for both teams – but then a lucky shot from Westwood bobbles around the Eagles box and somehow ends-up over line. 0-1 Westwood. Eagles regrouped and tried to get back in the game with Aadam Merali and Abbas Rajvani controlling the midfield, but then an Eagles clearance is latched onto by Westwood who force it over the line to make it 0-2. SJFA tried to hit back, but looked like they were trying too hard – a pass to a team mate may have been a better option than to try for goal in a few instances. Westwood then made a break and got behind. A pass into the middle alluded the keeper with Westwood’s Ali Jawad Fazel with an open goal to tap in, only for Jaabir Merali to hook it away from the goal line. Third quarter ends 0-2.
The Eagles coach makes some changes for a final push in the last quarter. SJFA come-out on the offensive with Hassan Valjy and Zaki Mavani in midfield pushing hard resulting in a fantastic shot by Zayn D. Westwood make an attack, but the shot was well-saved by Ammar Lalji. Some neat play by the Eagles puts Ali Nurmohammed in a good position on the left-wing – he gets himself ready to shoot, but puts it just over the bar. The Eagles were starting to build momentum and put together another attack, an opportunity fell to Zayn Dharas who put an excellent shot just past the corner. Full-time whistle is blown, and the score ends 0-2 Westwood. A good test for the young Eagles between two evenly matched sides.
SJFA players and coaches were disappointed, but in fairness, it was the right result – slightly hard to swallow. A good lesson learned, and I’m sure the boys will be hungry to make amends.
Match Report by Murtaza Mavani