Mumbai, Feb 9 (UNI) A good header from Mansur Arfin in the first half proved the difference between the KSA Red and Kerala XI in finals of the Siro Clinpharm 6th KSA Veterans Football Tournament played at the KSA grounds on Saturday with KSA Red defeating Kerala XI 1-0.
With eight former internationals in their ranks, Kerala XI looked favourites to lift the title and take home the winners prize money of Rs 75,000. The hosts, KSA Red, had other ideas as they weathered the early pressure from the Kerala XI forward line. Kerala XI left-back Soly Xavier had a volley sail just wide during their period of domination.
Kerala XI had a great chance to go ahead but Soly Xavier's right footed shot sailed far over. The hosts made the most of the early misses by Kerala XI when Suresh Arya put in a neat cross for Mansur Arfin to send a looping header past former India keeper, K T Chako.
The second half saw man-to-man marking from both the teams making it very difficult for the either side to mount an attack. As time ticked away, Kerala XI were forced to go on the attack, leaving their defence exposed for KSA to attack. They went close twice through Doughlas D'senna but Sharaf Ali forced a great save out of Ismail Ansari, the KSA goalkeeper.
What followed was about five minutes of domination from Kerala XI but for all their trying, they couldn't get past an energetic KSA defence. During this phase, Sharaf Ali also managed to hit the upright with a fine right footer. Kerala were forced to go for an all out attack and KSA were more than happy to hit the visitors on the counter. A deflection off Jiju Jacob ensured KSA didn't go ahead by two goals after Navin Kotian sent a good header goalwards. The whistle blew moments later giving the hosts a well deserved victory.
KSA Red won Rs 75,000 for their efforts while Kerala XI took home Rs 50,000. Navin Kotian of KSA Red was awarded the player of the tournament for his display in the heart of their defence. Kerala XI keeper K T Chako was the recipient of the goalkeeper of the tournament award. Central Railway forward Asif Jamal was given the best forward of the tournament award for his fiery display through the tournament, which included a hat-trick.
Result: KSA Red 1 (Mansur Arfin) bt Kerala XI 0.
UNI GS MAZ RKM HT2048