While a final is meant to end in celebration, Goal-A-Thon 2018 ended in silence.
The 66th game of the three-day tournament saw Nice Guys jump to an early 2-0 lead over Suicide Squad. The battle between the two twelfth-grade teams seemed to be all but over, but a penalty kick made it 2-1, and then an apparent referring error drew the two sides even: a shot that hit the inside of the goal post was called a goal by Mr. Arjun Puri, development director, who was the third referee for the final.
The call seemed to deflate the exhausted players and the crowd. When both teams failed to score in overtime, penalties were the only option left. With the regulations being kept in mind, each team got three tries each and then the rule of sudden death automatically applied.
The first three shots from both teams missed their mark or were blocked by the two goalkeepers, the Nice Guys’ Karsten Shaw and the Suicide Squad’s Iqbal Zaheer, who eventually won the Golden Glove award for the tournament. The fourth shot by the Nice Guys also missed, and so it was up to Ahaan Nayar to be the unlikely hero: he hadn’t scored a goal during the tournament, and it seemed that every time he touched the ball in the final, it ended up in the crowd.
When Nayar’s shot hit the back of the net, the match was over: Suicide Squad had won, but the packed Win Mumby Gym remained silent. Even the players on both teams appeared surprised by the outcome.
The girls final, on the other hand, was not as controversial but an interesting match nonetheless. It was played between tenth-grade team Thotimus Prime and twelfth graders Seniors Got Messi.
Diya Singh, Class of 2019, came off the bench with a hairline fracture to score the only goal of the match. She received the Golden Boot award for the most goals in the tournament, proving to be too much for all competitors. (In the boys’ section, Mukhtar Muhamed, Class of 2021, won the Golden Boot.)
Thotimus Prime was a surprise finalist and came close to being the first underdog champion. Goalkeeper Paloma Hubbard, Class of 2021, was recognized for her outstanding work by being awarded the Golden Glove award.
The tournament did not go well for the Class of 2020, as not only did they fail to win any awards for the tournament, they recorded the most number of injuries.
Mohit Jhawar, Complan Boys’ midfielder, suffered a fractured fibula and has currently left for home for at least six weeks.
Palden Dorjee Gonsar, the Powerpuff Boys’ left back, fell hard and reinjured his lower back, because of which he is on a five-day bed rest at the Health Centre.
Jiwon Chun, the Fanxy striker, had her forehead bleeding after she got kicked in a match. Moreover, she exacerbated the ankle injury she had suffered the previous week during Inter-House competition.
A highlight of this year’s Goal-A-Thon was the relatively high number of upsets as it was the underdogs who were often triumphant.
Boom Shakalaka, a ninth-grade boys team, reached the semi-finals after beating tenth-, eleventh-, and twelfth-grade teams. The ninth graders received the Sportsmanship award. (On the girls side, Fanxy won the Sportsmanship award.)
Other notable underdogs included Senti’s Kimbap, a ninth-grade girls team that reached the semi-finals, and troll team Bhagat Boiz, who performed well to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament and barely lost to Overrated, a tenth-grade team.
With the Classes of 2021 and 2022 doing well, it is evident that this year’s Goal-A-Thon must have been an eye-opener for the older teams.
Not forgetting the fact that the tournament was originally created to raise money for charity, this year, the amount of money raised by the school broke records, too.
About 250,000 rupees was pledged and will be collected by Student Council in the coming weeks. The money will be donated to fund the Emmanuel Health Association, who are currently helping people affected by the Kerala floods.
The two teams’ journey for the cup
- vs. Habbibis: 7-0
- The opening match of Goal-A-Thon. An easy competition. Neel Mukhija scores 5 goals.
- vs. Boom Shakalaka: 0-1
- They are confident but not overconfident. Towards the end, Boom Shakalaka upsets the eventual champions.
- vs. Complan Boys: 3-0
- An eventful game that features a fracture and an own goal.
- vs. No Skill No Effort: 5-0
- Against a 10th grade team, another easy game. Kritin Garg, Mukhija, and Janak Singh contribute with goals.
- vs. The Legends: 2-1
- Quarterfinals against a 12th-grade team. Doesn’t seem to affect their journey as they reach the semis.
- vs. Chat Masala: 1-0
- A very heated game. So many fouls and dirty talk. Defense is intense but Suicide Squad finds a way to clinch a win. Players still showing sportsmanship and go to the other team members to shake hands and clap for them.
- vs. NICE GUYS: 2-2 (1-0 on penalties)
- An absolutely controversial game. With less than a minute left, the goalkeeper shoots from half-court. The ball hits the woodwork. Is it a goal or no? Audience confused, players from Nice Guys annoyed, Suicide Squad happy. Did it hit the inside post or outside? It’s given a goal, 2-2 it is. In penalties, Ahaan Nayar shoots it in the bottom right corner, keeper stays in the middle. Suicide Squad it is for the win.
Seniors Got Messi
- vs. Balani’s Juniors: 6-0
- First game for the team. An easy competition. Diya Singh scores 6.
- vs. Senti’s Kimbap: 7-0
- Diya on fire, scores all 7.
- vs. Karate Kids: 1-0
- Intense game, but taking the win. Khushi Agrawal, Student Council president, shoots the ball in and it goes; she is shocked that she actually scored.
- vs. FRIENDS: 10-3
- Game interrupted for “YMCA.” Diya scores 4.
- vs. Fanxy: 1-0
- An intense game. Tight defense by both teams, but Diya again finds a way to break the defense and score. They reach the semifinals.
- vs. Thotimus Prime: 1-0
- Diya scores yet again, and Seniors Got Messi clinches the title.