Celebration time: Jubilant Kinta Indian Association players and officials posing for a group photo after they were crowned the new champions of the Penang Indians Association's International Soccer Sevens.
KINTA Indians Association (KIA) edged out debutant Medan Indians Association by a goal to win the Penang Indian Association Soccer Sevens challenge trophy.
The third edition of the one-
day challenge saw 16 teams battling for the silverware at the Penang Indian Association (PIA) ground in Jalan Bagan Jermal, Penang.
Penang Sports Club won the cup when it was first played in 2012 and host PIA engraved their name on their own trophy last year.
PIA, however, appeared to be on track for a back-to-back victory this year when they marched into the semi-finals.
But to the disappointment of the home fans, they were shown the exit by Medan Indians, one of the two foreign teams, the other being Singapore Indian Association, that accepted PIA’s invite to play.
The Medan Indian, making their debut, held PIA to a goalless draw during normal play, before outgunning PIA 3-2 in the shootout decider.
Medan Indian marched into the final to meet KIA, a team that had former national player P. Umaparan as coach, former national coach Datuk M. Karathu as strategist and former national goalkeeper V Murugan manning the goalmouth.
When KIA managed to breach the Medan defence just two minutes into the recent showdown, with B. Theyagu tucking home a Mohamed Aiszed Kamal cross, it boosted their confidence.
From then on, KIA adopted a tactical approach to contain the Indonesians and the single goal was enough for them to be crowned the new champions.
Karathu was full of praise not only for his charges but for the organisers as well.
“This is indeed a good gathering for Indian associations in the country and with invitations even extended to our fellow associations in neighbouring countries, we are looking forward to next year to defend our crown.”