AIFF India’s solid defensive strategy failed to hold Estudiantes FC back as the Argentinean outfit secured a 3-0 win in their opening Frenz U18 International Cup 2015 Group D match at the UiTM Stadium in Shah Alam today.

AIFF’s defensive 4-4-2 formation caught Estudiantes off guard, but the Argentineans managed to score first through a corner kick in the 26th minute, which found defender Marinelli Rodrigo Alberto in place to drive the ball into the net.

Estudiantes’ confidence grew, resulting in a second goal obtained after Apaolaza Juan Franciso picked out Lazzarini Emiliano in the box, who redirected the ball into the top right corner on 42nd minute.

Trailing by two goals, AIFF began pushing upfront more, but Estudiantes goalkeeper Lazarte Ulises was always there to thwart their attempts.

Unfortunately, AIFF conceded their third goal in the 74th minute after Miranda Ezequiel Fernando, who was unmarked in the six-yard box, tapped in a pass from Apaolaza to make it 3-0 to Estudiantes.

Estudiantes were forced to play with 10 men in the last five minutes after using all their substitutions before Miranda suffered from cramps, but it was enough for them to secure the win.

“I am happy we won in our first match in the FIC. The conditions and time difference made it a little difficult, but the boys did well. We want to focus on our next match against Frenz United Malaysia and then only we will think of Tottenham Hotspurs. We do not want to look too far,” said Estudiantes coach, Desio Hermes Aldo.

Over in Palembang, Brazilian outfit SC Internacional FC and Spanish club Valencia CF were looking to an impressive start in Group B but it was Internacional, who finished third in FIC 2014, walked away with a composed and determined performance following a 3-1 victory at the Gelora Sriwijaya Stadium in Jakabaring.

Striker Ronald Santanna Rodrigues gave Internacional the lead in the 35th minute and the Brazilians could have gone 2-0 up on the stroke of interval from a penalty but Joao Pedro Viera shot straight into Valencia goalkeeper Christian Rivero Sabater.

Goals from Allan Rodrigues de Souza off a perfectly executed free kick in the 55th minute and Bruno de Souza (65th), however, kept Internacional in a comfortable opposition. But after Internacional were reduced to 10 men in the 75th minute following the sending-off of defender Mauricio Tomazi for a serious infringement at the top of the box, Valencia struck back.

Substitute Marco Anatonio Farisito weaved his way into the box from the left flank and let fly a powerful shot into the top right of the net, beating a bemused goalkeeper Andre Felipe Grandi.

Valencia head coach, Miguel Grau Piles, however, blames the match referee’s handling of the game and the uneven ground condition at the stadium for their opening defeat.

“The referee was very soft in the first half as most of my players were getting knocks and he did not show any yellow card. It was only in the second half that he began to act more seriously,” said Piles.

“I believe if the ground was much better we could have played better, even if we had lost was immaterial. Today, we just could not play our normal game,” added Piles.

Internacional head coach, Ricardo Cobalchini, in dismissing Valencia claims that the Brazilians played a very physical game today, said: ““We are thrilled with this win over Valencia and look towards playing Chonburi FC on Tuesday. That is our brand of football and we get very serious once on the field.  Unfortunate the ground conditions made it tough to play good football.”


Match Schedule – Monday (5 Jan, 2015):

In Palembang – Group A: Frenz United Indonesia v Feyenoord FC (4.0pm); Liverpool FC v Guangzhou Evergrande; 8.0pm (both matches to be played at Stadium Gelora Sriwijaya).

In Kuala Lumpur – Group C: PVF Vietnam v Gamba Osaka (4.30pm); Besiktas J.K. v Porto FC; 8.45pm (both matches to be played at Maybank Stadium, Bangi).

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