Singapore Football Club (SFC) were crowned champions in Bangkok on Sunday evening, at the 43rdRoyal Bangkok Sports Club International Soccer 7stournament.
Captained by the talismanic Jahan Rezai, SFC defeated local Thai team Tirathai 1-0, in a tightly contested final. It was SFC’s Captain himself, that stepped up and scored the winning goal, before then going up to collect the trophy.
This was SFC’s maiden entry to the renowned, two day, seven a side soccer competition, hosted by RBSC. The weekend involves forty-eight teams, from as far afield as Japan, Hong Kong, China as well as from Singapore, and of course Thailand.
On day one of the tournament, SFC were drawn in Open Group F, alongside local teams Pele FC, 2014 Champions Ajarn Pong, as well as Hong Kong’s KCC Dragons.
SFC started slowly with Englishman, Rob Benson, scoring late in order to spare their blushes, as they drew 1-1 with Pele FC in their opening match.
That was the final time SFC players looked troubled, on the pitch, for the remainder of the weekend. Expertly managed by player manager Matt Hulen, the deep squad of talent, assembled by SFC’s Brains Trust worked wonders. Displaying an attacking, free-flowing style of football that the Seattle star dubbed “molten”, for its searing hot, liquid characteristics.
By the second game this style was on full display. SFC hit their stride and comfortably saw off former champions Ajarn Pong, before dismissing KCC Dragons with aplomb, in their final group game, 3-0. French dynamic duo Anthony Garreau and DJ Dashnyam both registering goals, alongside Rob Benson.
The three results saw SFC top Open Group F.
With the knock stages commencing on Sunday, SFC eased passed a well organised Tokyo Panthers team as Ross Plain struck twice. Somerset’s favourite son clearly relishing the venue, as he found space to attack time and time again.
The quarter finals offered a different proposition for Singapore, as Baan Lek Thee appeared content to give up possession and tried to score on the break. This tactic ultimate cost the Thai team however. The defensive shield of Danny Sheen and Adam Bowden marshalled the final quarter well, ably assisted by Ronnie Smollet, in between the sticks.
After considerable possession, and patience, Liam Shotton finally decided it was time to deliver a text book thunderbolt. The local crowd favourite wowing his fans, and in the process, booked his team a place in the semi-finals.
Lying in wait were reigning champions Bangpla.
Coach Matt Hulen, having shown his tactical shrewdness all weekend, now added to that by showing what he could do with his feet too. The twinkled toed American opening the scoring for SFC with a well taken strike. 1-0 SFC.
The Thai champions were not ready to give up though. Eager to be the first team, since Siamsport in 2008-2009, to retain the trophy they levelled the scoring to make it 1-1. Eventually, it was the turn of the in form Rob Benson to come to the rescue once again. The flying winger finding the back of the net, late in the second half to make it 2-1. Benson realising, in the process, that his extra hours, at Molten Sports training academy, were finally paying off.
The final, as mentioned, was a cagey affair played out in front of an enthusiastic Thai home crowd. Fortunately, though, cometh the hour, cometh the man.
With stalwart Martin Rigby ruled out of action for the final, SFC still had just the man to call upon; Jahan Rezai. The seasoned captain picked the ball up on the left wing, after a sustained period of SFC possession, before cutting in and unleashing a smart drive past a despairing Tirathai goalkeeper. 1-0 Singapore FC.
With Tirathai having no attacking threat to rely on, SFC were then able to control the remainder of the game, before the referee finally blew time on a bonanza weekend of football, and Singapore Football Club was crowned champions.
Congratulations to Royal Bangkok Sports Club and Chang Beer for another fantastic weekend of football, played in great spirits throughout the two days.
Day 1: Saturday, 8th February 2020
Group Match 1:
Singapore FC 1 Pele FC 1
Goal scorer: Rob Benson
Group Match 2:
Singapore FC 2 Ajarn Pong 1
Goal scorers: Liam Shotton, Rob Benson
Group Match 3:
Singapore FC 3 KCC Dragons 0
Goal scorers: Jahan Rezai, Anthony Garreau, DJ Dashnyam
Day 2: Sunday, 9th February 2020
Singapore FC 2 Tokyo Panthers 0
Goal scorer: Ross Plain x2
Singapore FC 1 Baan Lek Thee 0
Goal scorer: Liam Shotton
Singapore FC 2 Bangpla 1
Goal scorers: Matt Hulen, Rob Benson
Singapore FC 1 Tirathai 0
Goal scorer: Jahan Rezai