Panjab hit nine!
Panjab FA ran out 9-1 winners in their most one-sided contest yet against Manchester International Football Academy at Salford Sports Village on Sunday afternoon.
Four goals in half an hour from Kidderminster Harriers forward Gurjit Singh emphatically set the tone to Panjab’s first ConIFA World Cup warm-up match. Terlochan Singh also scored twice as Karum Shanker, Amar Purewal and Rio Riaz completed the scoring.
Kristian Plamenov pegged one back for the hosts on the stroke of half-time but MIFA ultimately failed to contain a dominant Reuben Hazell team.
The visitors nearly found the lead within 90 seconds when Rajpal Virk played through wing-back Aaron Dillon who beat his defender before blasting straight at MIFA goalkeeper Danny Lloyd.
Four minutes later though they did find the breakthrough. PJFA debutant ‘Gaz’ Singh controlled a cross eight yards out, before swivelling onto his left foot and firing into the bottom corner.
And before the home side found time to settle Singh was at it again, latching onto a long ball from defence, the forward dribbled past both defender and keeper to slot in his second inside two minutes.
The Harriers striker, who on the same weekend ended his loan spell at Evo-Stik Northern Premier side – Stourbridge, then struck low past Lloyd from 20 yards to secure his 14-minute hat-trick, moments after Toch spiralled wide Riaz’s setup.
But the best of his goals was saved for the 26th minute. Bringing down the ball 35 yards from goal, the forward ran at a retreating MIFA defence before thumping into the top corner from the edge of the area.
Ten minutes before half time, captain Amarvir Sandhu was forced off due to a niggling dead-leg he sustained the day prior for his club Leicester Wood. Karum Shanker replaced him and instantly made his mark, holding off a defender to run on-goal and slide home in his first involvement.
Toch then got to make amends for his earlier miss by grabbing the sixth in the 42nd minute. Virk found the Sporting Bengal forward amazingly unmarked and unopposed in the MIFA box, who finished calmly from close range.
MIFA grabbed a consolation in first-half injury time, as Sinan Rashed’s dangerous free-kick was nodded in by fellow midfielder, Plamenov.
The second half started as the first ended with chances at both ends. Virk saw his effort tipped over the bar while at the other end Panjab keeper Raajan Gill was out early to block a MIFA second.
Then came controversy, Toch’s seemingly legal effort from outside the area was disallowed for offside, leaving the away dugout furious.
But the introduction of Harrogate Railway striker Amar Purewal on 74 minutes got them their seventh of the game. Dhillon – a menace on the right all afternoon – played in Purewal, who rounded the keeper for his first national goal.
In a half where Panjab could have had 15 – from Gaz alone – frequently mentioned Lloyd played his part in keeping the scoreline down with some credible saves.
Toch scored his second in the 81st following good work from an energetic Riaz in midfield, before the latter pounced on his own woodwork-rebounded lobbed effort to net the ninth.
Panjab’s next fixture takes place at the Harriers’ Aggborough Stadium against Brian Little-managed Jersey FA, the final planned fixture before this year’s championships in Abkhazia.
Article by Rajen Bagri – @rbagri94