In every season, there is a character building game for every team. Such a game helps to bond players together and teaches them lessons that hours and hours of training would not be able to do, NYF vs NYL was such a game.
Faced with frustrating decisions, little luck and team infighting, NYL showed their mettle by struggling all the way to the end. This game, which must surely be considered among the games of the season, would teach NYL the importance of keeping cool heads when faced with adversity.
It started very badly. NYL took centre, and Shurayh, NYLs attacking midfielder, made a routine pass back to centre back Abdullah. Due to a momentary lapse of concentration, a NYF player stole the ball and ran into the area completely unchallenged. The NYL goal keeper dived at the feet of the oncoming player. The NYF striker calmly went around him and placed the ball into the goal. 1-0. 15 seconds, such a fast goal will probably not be seen again this season. The NYF team celebrated as they could not believe how easily they had just breached NYLs defence.
The NYL players were in shock as they hadn’t expected to concede so early. Alim, the man of the match from last weeks game, rallied his team, “come on boys, we’ve got plenty of time, lets go”. NYL took the center again, this time Abdullah managed to keep the ball and sent a pass out to the right.
NYL were playing their favoured 4-5-1 formation. With the arrival of an old team mate, Musa, Nahidur was moved to the left of midfield. That would prove to be a stroke of genius. NYL began to get into the game but were finding stiff opposition from NYF’s midfielders. “Show some hunger, the’re winning everything!” Abdullah shouted as he sought to lead his team into taking control of the game.
NYL managed to get a ball into NYF’s 18 yard box, one of the NYL players shot and the ball hit a defender, and not for the first time in this game, Nahidur struck a loose ball which found its way into the net. NYL felt relief as they went level. 1-1.
The game restarted and NYF again bossed the midfield. At the halfway line, Nahidur tackled one of the players and started a drive towards the goal, with 2 NYF players flanking him. He found himself in the NYF area and shot, it went into the bottom right of the goal. An exhilarating run from midfield and doggedness to keep on going had resulted in another goal. 2-1 to NYL.
The NYL players jumped on Nahidur, they were estatic. NYF had been dominating the midfield but against the run of play, the had conceded another goal. It was time for them to go back to the drawing board.
After some good build up play, NYF found themselves with a throw in. They took it, one of their players got the ball and was fouled by Shurayh. The referee pointed to the penalty spot, Shurayh protested his innocence. Ziyad, NYLs right back, said “dont worry”. NYLs manager shouted “Make up for it” from the side lines. The NYF player stepped up and took an excellent shot to the right, the NYL goalkeeper remained rooted to his feet. 2-2.
NYF celebrated deliriously, game on! The NYL players began to show frustration. NYF chased every ball and hankered after all of the NYL players. In another attacking move, an NYF player received a ball in the goal area and was fouled by an NYL player. Another penalty, the NYL players were furious and began to argue with one another.
Up stepped the NYF player and scored in the same manner that he had done before. It was now 3-2 to NYF. Their supporters leaped joyously, blissfully unaware that there were more twists and turns yet to come. NYL retook the centre and tried to build something out of the game. They had had high hopes of winning this game but now they would be made to work for it.
Lacking rhythm, NYL couldn’t string a set of passes together and the players started to shout and swear at each other. Frustration can cause some irrevocable damage especially if you are already losing by a goal down. NYF entered, it seemed, at will into NYLs area. Another beautiful pass into the box was finished with aplomb and caused even more despair for a team that seemed to be coming off the rails. 4-2 to NYF.
Zaeem, NYLs talented right midfielder was getting very frustrated with his team. He began shouting at his players and got into an argument with Ziyad. He hated losing and just couldnt understand why his team were not able to play football today. The referee warned him about his conduct, his manager warned him about his conduct but it just did not quench the anger he felt.
Half time came and the NYF players walked off feeling very happy with themselves. They were leading by two goals against one of the better teams in the league. They had chased every ball, disrupted the flowing game that NYL enjoyed playing and seemingly scored at will.
NYL came off with some of the players still continuing their arguments, “Calm down!” the manager shouted, “Calm down and keep your heads!” The team gathered around for the team talk, Zaeem found his own space and tried to calm down. “Dont get frustrated otherwise you will lose the game, keep your heads and the results will come.” The Manager sought to prevent his team from completely self destructing.
After a few minutes the players returned to the pitch for the second half, Zaeem was left out of the start because the manager felt that in his frustrated state He would be cause more problems for his team then the opposition. Abdul Rahman started in his place, Zaeem went for a walk.
The game continued with NYL becoming more assertive, “The’re winning everything!” shouted one of the NYF players as they struggled in the first few moments of the second half. Shurayh received the ball and managed to evade his marker and sent in an excellent cross that evaded everyone and was headed by NYL striker, Alim who hit the cross bar. It bounced out and Nahidur poached the third goal for his hatrick.
NYL’s renewed vigour for the game had led to their third goal, it was now 4-3 to NYF. NYL hoped that his would be the start of a great comeback. Their hopes were dashed as again NYF scored again to make it 5-3. This time NYL’s response was to remain calm and play their way back into the game. Zaeem returned from his extended break and went into midfield.
NYF played the ball around and found their way into the NYL box. Their striker was shepherded by an NYL player who made an ill timed tackle for a third penalty. NYL were not quite sure what to do, up stepped the NYF player amidst screams of “Get your hatrick!” from the side line. He shot as he had done twice before… this time he placed the ball on the wrong side of the upright.
You could feel the collective sigh of relief from NYL, at last something was going their way. About 15 minutes into second half, Shariful, NYLs other attacking midfielder, was sin-binned for a late tackle on an NYF player. They had been warned by their manager to no avail. 2 goals down and the last thing that they needed was to go a player down.
The 10 minutes passed and Shariful came back on again. However, it was not long before Zaeem was sin-binned for a push on a player. Time was in short supply and NYL seemed unable to keep their focus. With 7 minutes to go Zaeem came back and proceeded to play a major part in a remarkable end to the game.
With NYL having nothing to lose, they kept pushing forward. One such move resulted in a goal mouth skirmish that saw Zaeem get his first goal of the game. 5-4. A few moments later, a hopeful shot from NYLs midfield came into the NYF box, Zaeem hit the ball with his heel. Incredulously it ended up in the NYF goal. All of a sudden from being 2 goals down, NYL were level with a few minutes to go. 5-5 seemed cruel to NYF who had dominated for the whole match, unfortunately for them they could do very little against the last goal, which surely must be a contender for goal of the season.
Abdullah cleared the ball out from his half, Shariful backheeled it to Shurayh who backheeled it to Zaeem. Zaeem, who had not used his skills for much of the game, made an audacious chip that would not have been out of place in a Brazil game. The ball floated through the air and landed in front of Nahidur who somehow was still running at full speed at this stage of the game. The team held its breath as Nahidur ran towards goal, He then unleashed a powerful shot which was slightly deflected and ended up in the back of the NYF goal. 6-5 to NYL with little more then 90 seconds remaining.
Nahidur scored the winning goal, His fourth of the game. His team mates jumped on him with adulation. No one could mind losing to such a goal, 4 exquisite touches and a deft finish by the man of the match. If anyone else had been awarded that, the NYL players probably would have rioted! The celebration following the goal saw Abdullah get sin binned and NYL played out the last few moments before exploding in celebration when the referee blew his whistle.
NYF walked off dejected and perhaps felt a little hard done by, they had worked their socks off but it had not been enough. They had led for most of the game but had lost to a magical moment of play from NYL. They could try to seek their revenge in the cup game the following week.
The first goal was scored after 15 seconds, 11 goals were scored in total. The lead changed 4 times, 3 penalties were awarded and 3 players were sin-binned. To cap it all, the game was won with a magnificent goal in the last few moments of the game. Its a pity that there were no cameras present as NYF and NYL participated in a game that will surely be become part of the leagues folklore.