The Tamil Eelam football team suffered a heavy 9-0 defeat today, at the hands of VIVA World Cup holders Kurdistan, at the 2014 World Football Cup in Sweden.
The match was always going to be tough for the Leopards, with the highly rated Kurdistan team coming into the match as clear favourites. In a setback for the Tamils, regular starter Ronsan Valli was not able to play due to illness.
Eager to make up for their opening defeat, Kurdistan started the game strongly, with relentless attacks in the Tamil Eelam half, made up of a series of slick passes and well coordinated moves.
Eelam's goalkeeper Umaesh Sundralingam had his work cut out for him, as the Kurds pressed forward. The Kurds clearly meant business, with a scorching shot saved only by the cross bar early on. Whilst the Tamil Eelam defence managed to hold on, it didn't take long for Kurdistan to show just why they are the current VIVA champions. A well placed free kick curled past the wall and into the bottom left corner of the net as Kurdistan took an early lead.
The Tamil Eelam team, playing their second match in as many days, were clearly struggling to hold the Kurds back, and things got worse when defender Kevin Nagendra had to be substituted off injured. They had already started without star player Gvinthan Navaneethakrishnan, the Golden Boot winner from last year's Isle of Man tournament, after he picked up an injury during yesterday's encounter with Arameans Suryoye, leaving the team weakened.
From then, a long range shot added another, before a brilliantly executed volley followed, as Younes slammed an unstoppable shot into the back of the net, giving Kurdistan their third goal. The favourites, with a squad mainly composed of players competing in the Iraqi Premier League, managed to add two more in quick succession, making it 5-0, at the end of the first half.
The second half started the way it ended, with Kurdistan continuing to pepper the Tamil Eelam goal adding two more goals to their lead. However, the half did see the Tamil Eelam team create a handful of chances against the highly skilled opposition. An athletic save by the Kurdish keeper, getting a glove to a well directed header, denied the leopards their first goal of the tournament. Playing with more fluency, Eelam managed to create more opportunities to score.
Although he was still struggling with injury Tamil Eelam looked for inspiration from Gvinthan Navaneethakrishnan, who was substituted on. And he had almost delivered with that elusive first goal, coming agonisingly close to scoring, after his shot which beat the keeper was cleared off the line by a last-gasp block from a Kurdish defender.
Meanwhile, the Kurdish strikers were rampant, with Farhan a constant threat down the right wing. Whilst Eelam's keeper Umaesh Sundralingam, made a series of great stops, rushing forward and throwing his body behind the ball, there was little he could do as skilled Farhan sailed to a second half hattrick.
The final scoreline reflected just why Kurdistan were rated so highly coming in to the tournament, sinking the leopards to their heaviest ever defeat.
The players were clearly devastated, but fans at the Jamkraft arena and through social media sent messages of consolation, with another two matches still left in the tournament.
Speaking to Tamil Guardian after the match, the team coach Ragesh Nambiar said that Tamil Eelam was struggling against a superior Kurdish side.
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