An unstoppable right footed drive by Dubai International School’s (DIA) strike sensation Ramia Shahzad was enough to overcome Emirates International School, Meadows (EISM) in the DASSA U18A Football League sponsored by Trans World Educational Experiences, Elise Kerr reports.
“I couldn’t have done it without my team mates today, we worked hard right to the end and got our reward,” said Shahzad afterwards. “EISM were difficult to break down and made it tough for us to play the passing game we try to play at home”.
The teams had barely settled into their formations when DIA’s Dutch maverick Isabelle De Groot played a neat one-two with Ariba Khan before cutting inside and unleashing a half-volley at goal, which was tipped over by EISM goalkeeper, Matilda Malmkvist. Further strikes at goal from the tenacious Ariba Khan, Ahlia Selwyn and Caterina Penza, were smothered by the EISM captain.
Nadine Bannayan fired over the bar from a Lara Jaggi cut back in EISM’s best opportunity in the first half. Anna Smith then forced her way down the left, supported by Huda Ahmed, who seemed to glide past her marker, found a perfect cross at the near post and Katie Maher beat Myriam Bekkoucha to the ball but couldn’t direct her effort on target.
Neither side was able to get the ball down and play the way they would have liked, with few clear cut chances for either side in the first half.
DIA 0 – 0 EISM
After the break DIA began to grow into the game more, their midfield winning every 50/50 and putting themselves about in a way that was missing in the first half. Clodagh Keegan fired an effort that looked to be heading in but for the head of Amelie Eckert, who put her body on the line to keep her team level. The subsequent corner almost gave DIA the lead but Renee De Geus screwed her header wide of the far post.
DIA were on top at this stage and when skipper Megan O’Callaghan was slipped through one-on-one it looked like the chance they were craving. Her shot was tipped on to the post by Malmkvist and the rebound off Renee De Geus almost found the net, eventually rolling just wide.
The missed chances and O’Callaghan’s third shot off the post seemed to take the wind out of DIA’s sales and they began ceding more and more possession to Mr Brocklehurst’s girls. Some good harrying and harassing up front from Maya Elnaja and Aleexevna Papazova kept the DIA defence on their toes and kept the pressure off the EISM goalkeeper Angela Oskorus.
The goal came at a crucial time and was worth the wait. The imperious O’Callaghan laid the ball back to Shahzad who’s unsaveable strike from 15 yards sailed over Oskorus’ head and into the roof of the net. It was special stuff from a special player.
Shazad’s thunderous strike was the highlight of an otherwise scrappy match but the moment of supreme quality with four minutes left on the clock was enough to send the DIA fans into raptures.
DIA 1 – 0 EISM
Megan O’Callaghan – Shahzad’s goal won the match but it was her captain’s determination and leadership that drove the team over the line. Unlucky not to be on the score sheet – hit the post three times in the second half.
Matilda Malmkvist – the stand in goalkeeper for the day produced a string of impressive stops, which kept her team in the game. Nadine Bannayan also turned in an impressive performance up front but was left isolated too often.
DIA – Ramia Shahzad’s match-winning goal was worthy of winning any match.
EISM – Nadine Bannayan’s side footed effort in the first-half displayed superb technique and on another day could have found the back of the net.