Real Kashmir FC beat George Telegraph SC 2-1 in IFA Shield final on Saturday at the Salt Lake Stadium to clinch their maiden major trophy in the club’s history. Goals from Lukman Adefemi and Skipper Mason Robertson were enough for the Snow Leopards to make this remarkable achievement.
Although the tournament missed many big guns of the country like Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, and all ISL clubs. The tournament featured 8 Calcutta Football League clubs and I-League clubs like Mohammedan SC, Real Kashmir, Gokulam Kerala FC, and Indian Arrows.
The final encounter was a fierce and a nervy one for the Snow Leopards. On the 38th minute their Nigerian signing Lukman Adefemi stepped forward to take the penalty and put his team ahead but the lead was cancelled by a terrific Solo run from the Georgian sub Gautam Das but after 10 mins the skipper Mason Robertson came up with a smashing header to restore his teams advantage.
But the Drama heated up when in the 80th minute the Real Kashmir captain conceded a penalty. But Tanmoy Ghosh’s penalty was stopped by an excellent dive from the Leopards Goalkeeper Mithun Samanta for which he received the Man-of-the-Match award.
Here’s what Samanta have to say for his brilliant save :-
It is a great moment for the team to win this historic tournament. We feel good and we will go into I-League on the back of this championship and try to play even better. It feels good to save a decisive penalty in a big final like this.
Later on Real Kashmir Coach David Robertson explained how the cup turn out to like a perfect competitive pre-season for the Upcoming I-League Season.
We are really happy after winning the historical IFA Shield. We know the history of this Shield. We were confident of winning the IFA Shield and at last we did it. We didn’t look at it as a preparation for the I-League but it was a different tournament for us,”
Although it was a lacklustre spectacle because of the absence of Kolkata Giants there’s always hope that these big franchise clubs will respect our cult tournaments and be on the same page by participating in these historic tournaments like Durand Cup and IFA Shield it means a lot to fans(Yes,I am targeting ISL clubs).
Whenever you hear the name Real Kashmir there’s a romanticism of football before this IFA Shield glory. They play free-flowing style under the tutelage of Scottish coach David Robertson(who won the Scottish Coach of the Year for his endeavours in the Indian football circuit). He and his son(Mason Robertson) want to contribute to the football in Beautiful Valley.
They are the underdogs but I back them to make it big in few years because they have all structure in place and a very experienced coach and scouting network players like Danish Farooq are gems found in the foothills of the Valley.
The Snow Leopards will begin their I-League Season on 10th January against Tiddim Road Athletic Union(TRAU) FC at 4PM IST.
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