Tamil Eelam secured 3rd place at the Tynwald Hill International football tournament in a rampant 5-0 victory against Raetia.
The last time the two teams met, Tamil Eelam won 4-0. Having high expectations for their upcoming match the players were out warming up on the pitch, well before Raetia. The manager, Ragesh Nambiar fielded a considerably changed line-up, with the captain Majouran Jeganathan rested on the bench.
By playing passionate and exciting football through the tournament Tamil Eelam had where considered as the people’s favourites, with Tamil Eelam Football Association merchandise exhibiting the best sales numbers at the tournament souvenir shop. Local football fans took a liking to Tamil Eelam and donned the Tamil Eelam shirt in the run up to the 3rd/4th place play-offs.
From the onset, Tamil Eelam were on top of the game creating chances seconds after kick-off. Having suffered a painful defeat the day before, it was evident that the team was determined to end the tournament on a high.
After stringing several passes together in the opposition half, Tamil Eelam’s pressure overwhelmed the Raetia defence, who carelessly gave away a free kick, 4 minutes into the game. A new addition to the starting line-up Sivaruban Sathiamoorthy, stepped up to take the free kick.
As the crowd held their breath, Sivaruban whipped the ball over the wall and curled into the top left corner of the goal, to score his first ever goal for Tamil Eelam in spectacular fashion.
|Players run to celebrate with managers and coaches after the first goal
Spurred on by the early goal, Tamil Eelam continued to outplay Raetia and exploit their wings. Tamil Eelam saw long spells of possession, showcasing intricate one touch passing that persistently split open the Raetian defence.
The second goal came as no surprise when captain Gagendran Balamurali, played through Mathanraj Uthayanan, who twisted past three players and produced a deft finish at the near right post.
As Tamil Eelam continued to work the Raetian team, any counter attacking threat posed by Raetia was smoothly handled by the Tamil Eelam defence. With the game comfortably under Tamil Eelam’s control, Raetia made a substitution 30 minutes into the game, in an attempt to change the team dynamics, and spur a positive Raetian response.
The early substitution had minimal impact to the flow of the game and the Tamil Eelam barrage of pressure continued, with Tamil Eelam winning several free kicks near the edge of the Raetian box.
Tamil Eelam went into the half time break 2-0 up and full of confidence. One change was made at the break with injured goal scorer Sivaruban Sathiamoorthy making way for Prashanth Ragavan.
The second half kicked off with no changes in the flow of the game. The Tamil Eelam midfield continued to pressure the Raetian defence who could only respond by committing fouls.
Gvinthan Navaneethakrishnan and Menan Nagulendran, were brought on for Mohammed Shazil Niyas and Panushanth Kulenthiran, as the assault on Raetia continued.
The Tamil Eelam team went as close as hitting the side netting from , a dangerously positioned free kick. As the relentless attacks, down the wing contined, Kevin Nagendra was fouled in the middle of the pitch as he tried to play a ball through to Gvinthan. The Raetia player responsible for the foul was consequently shown a red card.
Tamil Eelam carried on dispatching testing shots, whilst Raetia struggled to interrupt the Tamil Eelam mode of play.
With 35 minutes played in the second half, substitute Gvinthan Navaneethakrishnan broke through three defenders, side stepped the goalkeeper and slotted home Tamil Eelam’s fourth goal.
|Gvinthan Navaneethakrishnan knocks the ball in between two defenders...
|Gvinthan Navaneethakrishnan runs past a third defender...
|Gvinthan Navaneethakrishnan side steps the final defender and keeper...
|Gvinthan Navaneethakrishnan places the ball into the back of the net.
Still reeling from the 3rd goal Raetia were unravelled by a run by Kevin Nagendera on the left wing, who dragged the ball back to Gvinthan Navaneethakrishnan who then rolled the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal from the edge of the box,with pin-point accuracy.
As Raetia struggled with 10 men, one of their players pushed Gvinthan to the floor in an act of frustration. The player was shown a straight red and Raetia were left to face some flamboyant Tamil Eelam football with only 9 men. Unable to cope with the Tamil Eelam play, Raetia committed another reckless challenge and saw their third player sent off.
Tamil Eelam spent the last 5 minutes terrorising the Raetian defence in search of a 5th goal. In the dying minutes of the game, the Raetian defence faltered again, as Gvinthan Naveenathakrishnan was played into space to slot the ball home for his hat-trick.
The final whistle blew and the Tamil Eelam team ran to their fans to celebrate the 5-0 victory.
Gvinthan was named man of the match, and also received the Golden Boot, award, for scoring the most goals in the tournament.
Tamil Guardian spoke to Ragesh Nambiar at the end of the match, commenting on the entire tournament and the win, he said,
“This tournament has been a great experience for the whole team. We have finished in third place and won our first major international trophy, whilst winning the support of new fans through our footballing talent. This tournament has allowed us to try out different tactics and players in these games makes me feel confident that we will be a strong force in next year’s VIVA world cup.”
Man of the match and Golden Boot winner, Gvinthan Neveenathakrishnan spoke to Tamil Guardian after winning his award. When asked about how he felt about his awards he said,
“I am so happy to win these awards. It feels amazing to have won two awards in this tournament. I wouldn’t have scored these goals so easily without having such a strong and unified team around me. These awards are actually a tribute to the whole team.”
We finally caught up with today’s captain, Gajendran Balamurali, who said,
“It was an honour to be given the opportunity to captain my national team today. The team put out an amazing performance today. We picked ourselves up from yesterday’s defeat and didn’t let it affect us. We showed the fans our footballing capabilities.”
As the tournament came to a close, it was evident that the team had bonded to form a solid unit that will pose a threat at next year's VIVA world cup. A third place finish in only their second international football tournamant shows that the Tamil Eelam Football Association is rapidly learning and improving. The Tamil Eelam Football Association, an initiative by the Global Tamil Youth League, has proved to bring the members of the nation across the world together in support of the team. The strength of the Tamil Eelam Football Association, can only increase from here on in.