Tamil Eelam faced strong opposition in their second group game of the Tynwald Hill international Football tournament. Despite a heartfelt performance the team slumped to a 5-0 defeat against tournament favourites Occitania, and finished second in the group. The result puts them through to the 3rd/4th place play-offs on Sunday afternoon.
The players arrived in good time to warm up and train in anticipation of the toughest game of their tournament campaign.
After hearing about Tamil Eelam’s previous performance against SeaLand, football fans from across the island came to watch a game that would showcase some of the best talent in the tournament.
Speaking to Tamil Guardian, a former player of the Isle of Man national team said,
“Tamil Eelam played some passionate and attract football in their first game. Occitania may be the favourites to win but I think the Tamil Eelam team have won over the hearts of the island.”
After lining up for the their respective national anthems the game kicked off. An uncharacteristic shaky start saw Tamil Eelam concede two goals in quick succession within the first 15 minutes.
The goals did not dishearten the Tamil Eelam team and although they struggled to keep the ball in the early stages of the game, they still posed threat down the wings, consequently winning a few free kicks.
The players settled down after the initial lapse in concentration and started to deal with the Occitanian pressure well.
Dealing with the pressure, Tamil Eelam continued to break out of defence with strong counter attacks resulting in several free kicks at the edge of the Occitanian box.
The goalkeeper Umaesh Sundaralingam dealt comfortably with a barrage of Occitanian shots that were taken from outside the box, as the Tamil Eelam defence kept the Occitanians at bay.
As the first half drew to a close, with only 3 minutes left, another momentary lapse in concentration saw Tamil Eelam concede a low driven shot from the edge of the box. The Tamil Eelam defence faced a surge of the attacks from the opposition and conceded another with the last kick of the first half.
The first half ended with Tamil Eelam 4-0 down, suffering from momentary lapses at the start and end of the first half.
The Second half saw Tamil Eelam kick-off with strong resolve. Sivaruban replaced Menan in an attempt to change the dynamics of the game.
A Tamil Eelam performance reminiscent of the convincing first win, was displayed for the first 30 minutes of the second half. Unaffected by their initial misdemeanours, Tamil Eelam held vast periods of possession, stringing intricate passes together.
The Occitanian keeper was forced to make spectacular saves, as Tamil Eelam started to break through the defence and dispatch testing shots.
Against the run of play, Occitania scored their 5th goal in the last 10 minutes of the game. Tamil Eelam responded by making an attacking substitution, bringing on Ronsan Vallipuram for Gvinthan ‘GV’ Navaneethakrishnan.
The last 10 minutes saw Tamil Eelam pile on the pressure in the Occitanian half of the pitch. The midfielders continued to break free down the wings and feed threatening balls back into the box.
In the dying seconds the game, a free kick was given to Tamil Eelam, in a central position at the edge of the box. The last kick of the game saw the free kick driven wide of the left post.
The final whistle blew and the game ended with a strong performance by the Tamil Eelam players against the best team in the tournament.
Whilst warming down the players went over to thank the fans for their unwavering support t throughout the course of the game.
After witnessing a dramatic turnaround in Tamil Eelam’s performance, the Occitanian players clapped in tribute to the strength and resolve showed by Tamil Eelam in the second half of the game.
Tamil Guardian caught up with the manager, Ragesh Nambiar, at the end of the game, who reiterated confidence in his team
“Our lapses in concentration made us to concede quick goals in succession in the first half. However our team showed huge fighting spirit, and the second half performance is a clear example of that. We managed to turn our performance around and challenge our opponents. The second half performance gives me confidence that the team can compete against the best teams. Our team stands a great chance of winning our next play-off and coming 3rd in this tournament.”
The Tamil Eelam captain, Majouran ‘Majo’ Jeganathan, spoke to Tamil Guardian before heading back into the changing rooms,
“Even though we lost this game, I think we can take many positives. Our team showed amazing resilience to put out such a strong performance in the second half, despite conceding so many in the first. If we can play like we did in the second half in our next match , I am sure we will win.”
Tamil Eelam will play Raetia on Sunday 8th July at 3.00pm in the 3rd/4th place play-offs. This will be the third time that they have played each other in international tournaments.