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AIFF Elite Academy to meet East Bengal in U-18 I-League final

IANS logoIANS 06-05-2017

AIFF Elite Academy will be chasing their third successive title while East Bengal look set to capture their first U-18 I-League title, making their maiden appearance in the final.

On the scale of performances, there is nothing much to separate the two sides as Elite Academy and East Bengal reached the final after beating strong opponents in the semi-finals.

Elite Academy secured their spot in the final after surviving a marathon penalty shoot-out against United Sports Club. Their custodian Samik Mitra played a crucial role with three saves in the shoot-out.

East Bengal on the other hand, edged past Salgaocar FC courtesy a fine brace from Suranjit Singh along with a goal from Bidyashagar Singh.

Elite Academy coach Floyd Pinto sounded confident ahead of the summit clash.

"There is absolutely no pressure on the team. The team has confidence in its ability to win the final against East Bengal," he said.

"It will be a tough game against a strong team but I can assure all that players are ready. My players have shown that they are hungry for victory and the title.

"I am proud of my players and what they have shown during this tournament. It will be great if they win the title." the 31-year-old coach added.

Elite Academy prefer to sit back and strike on the counter-attack. They have frustrated many teams with this style of play as they come up with quick counter-attacks orchestrated by their skipper Edmund Lalrindika.

Furthermore, the likes of Zonunmawia, Lalengzama Vangchhia, Naorem Roshan Singh and Amal Das will add depth to the squad.

On the other hand, East Bengal, who enjoy the advantage of being the home side, have been a joy to watch in the tournament with excellent teamwork.

They have a lot of pace on both flanks with a solid midfield marshalled by Prakash Sarkar and Yami Longvah.

The strike duo of Lalcchanhima and Suranjit can tear apart any defence on their day.

"The team is prepared and there are no worries as far as the fitness of the players is concerned. I am very happy with the progress of my team, which has shown great improvement match after match.

"We have a great deal of respect for AIFF Elite Academy but I know my players are capable of winning the title," East Bengal coach Tarun Dey said.

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