Unbeaten United SC faces AIFF Elite Academy for final spot

AIFF Elite Academy and United Sports Club will lock their horns in the first semifinal at the Barasat Stadium in Kolkata on Friday to seal a berth in the final of the ongoing U-18 I-League 2016-17.

AIFF Elite Academy defeated Minerva Punjab and DSK Shivajians before going down to Bengaluru FC.   -  Special Arrangement

AIFF Elite Academy and United Sports Club will lock their horns in the first semifinal at the Barasat Stadium in Kolkata on Friday to seal a berth in the final of the ongoing U-18 I-League 2016-17.

With a place in the final of the country’s biggest youth competition at stake, it will be an exciting contest between two sides, who has taken the youth development in India to a whole different level.

The defending champion Elite Academy begins its final round campaign with a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Minerva Punjab FC and then edged past DSK Shivajians 2-1 which took it through to the last four before losing its final group game against Bengaluru FC.

However, Elite Academy coach Floyd Pinto does not seem to be affected by the defeat that came right before the semifinal, as the 31-year-old stays confident ahead of the pre-summit clash and fancy his team’s chances against United SC, which seems like a side on a mission after scoring 17 goals in 3 group games.

“It’s an important game but end of the day, it’s just another game and we need to play good football to win. I expect a difficult match because the two teams boast of talented players and it will be very tough for either side,” said coach Pinto.

Measuring the opponents strength the Maharashtrian coach added, “We know that our opponent scores a lot of goals but that does not mean we will be content to defend. We have our own philosophy and boys are committed to delivering a good performance. A place in the final up for grabs and we are ready at all levels.”

United SC, on the other hand, has set the tournament on fire. The Purple Brigade started off with a 9-0 victory over Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools before beating Salgocar FC and Royal Wahingdoh 5-3 and 3-0 respectively. The Surajit Das-coached side is the highest scoring side in the competition so far and incidentally, it is the only team to qualify for the semifinals with an all-win record.

The match at Barasat Stadium kicks-off at 9:00 AM on Friday.

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