New Delhi: MSP Malappuram, Kerala became the first team to score a goal against Ukraine`s FC Dynamo Kyiv but that was not enough for the Indian team to stop the visitors from winning the final 5-2 and lift the boy`s U-17 Subroto Cup crown on Monday.
The Ukraine outfit was the outright favourite for the title given the clinical display en route to the final, but the Kerala team, who had qualified for the Subroto Cup final for the very first time in the history of the tournament was determined not to go down without a fight in front of a vociferous crowd that had gathered to support them.
The first few minutes went according to the script with the European team asserting their supremacy with possession football and Dmytro Zayikin scoring two of his four goals in the 10th and 13th minute.
However, the two goals did little to dampen the spirit of the Kerala boys, who brought the stadium on its feet through a 15th minute strike by Muhammed Sabith.
Unsettled by the goal, Ukraine pressed harder but Kerala goalkeeper Vishnu VK managed to hold them off for another 10 minutes before two more goals in four minutes made the result a foregone conclusion.
Despite the loss, Kerala coach Benoy C James praised his side for the fighting display. "The way our boys attacked and secured the first goal that definitely had raised our confidence and the crowd support gave us all the more support.
"It is the first time that Kerala had qualified for the finals in the history of Subroto Cup and we are happy with the performance of the boys."
Ukraine team manager Ivan also had a word of praise for their opponents. "When the Indian team scored the first goal and with the crowd support all for the local team, our boys had initial jitters but soon we were back to playing self.
Dynamo Kyiv scored a total of 34 goals in seven matches.
"This was Ukraine`s first shot in the tournament and it was a great experience for us. The boys saw some great competition and we are looking forward to come back next year," Ivan added.
Speaking at the award ceremony, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshall NAK Browne underlined the growing popularity of the tournament saying many European clubs, including FC Barcelona, are keen to send their teams.
"Keeping the interest alive we will do a club tournament for the foreign teams along side this tournament," he added.
The organisers also selected 25 players from the tournament who were given a one-time scholarship of Rs 25000 each.
Meanwhile, tournament sponsor Adidas also announced its initiative to adopt 10 talented players after the tournament as part of their `Generation Adidas Program`.
"These talented footballers will be provided world class equipment and gear, and access to international training and coaching opportunities" said Tushar Gokuldas, Brand Director, Adidas.
Result: FC Dynamo Kyiv, Ukraine 5 (Dmytro Zayikin 10, 13, 29, 41; Zo Rostslav 25) bt MSP High School 2 (Muhammed Sabith 15, 54).
I was down 2-1 in the third it was really tight and it was really tough.