The Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC) tasted success against Sudeva Delhi FC as they defeated the Chencho Dorji-coached team 1-0 in their respective opening fixtures of the Reliance Foundation presents Premier League Next Generation Cup on Wednesday.

RFYC were knocked out of the recently-concluded Reliance Foundation Development League (RFDL) by Sudeva in the semi-final on Thursday last week. However, the team put in an improved and impactful performance as they took three points from the Delhi-based club tonight.

It was a neck-to-neck contest as both teams failed to break the deadlock until the half-time whistle. Sudeva had nearly notched the opener through an incredible free-kick by Seilenthang Lotjem in the 39th minute. The swirling shot missed hitting the woodwork by a whisker and it indicated that the RFDL runners-up might be coming closer to scoring the first goal of the game.

However, RFYC came in with some reinvigorated energy in the second-half and Sanan Mohammed made a smart run to get at the end of a pass from the flank and put it into the back of the net to bag the only strike of the match.

Sudeva tried shaking things up in the second-half, deploying their defender Ashray Bharadwaj to play as a centre-forward late in the game. However, RFYC held on to their lead until the end and commenced their campaign on a positive note.

“I am extremely proud of the boys for getting this win. We worked really hard tonight and all the hard work made the difference in the end. We won the second balls, the 50-50 duels and finally scored that goal,” RFYC coach Arata Izumi reflected on the performance of his boys after the game.

He added, “It was a great mental and physical battle and we could overcome this strong opponent. It’s a pretty unique case that we get an opportunity to play the same team in a very close competition in such a short notice.”

Sudeva coach Dorji conceded that dealing with inconsistency amongst a younger group of players is always challenging. He claimed that his boys needed to catch up to the level that they had done in the RFDL semis last week but assured that they will look to come back stronger in the upcoming fixtures.

“This is football. We should always accept the defeat. Maybe this time they were the better team. It’s just that we need to take better learning,” the coach explained.

Sudeva Delhi FC and RFYC next face Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers at RCP on May 20, Saturday.

Brief Scores: RFYC 1 (Sanan Mohammed 45’) – 0 Sudeva Delhi FC 

Wolverhampton Wanders FC put on a strong show against Everton FC with a 4-0 win 

Wolverhampton Wanderers FC put in a comprehensive display in their opening game of the Reliance Foundation presents Premier League Next Generation Cup as they triumphed over fellow Premier League (PL) rivals Everton FC by 4-0 at the Reliance Corporate Park (RCP) in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday.

Their midfield diligently covered the length and breadth of the ground in order to regain possession and they capitalised on set-pieces to get ahead in the contest.

Forward Nathan Fraser nodded in a cross home to secure the first goal of the night as Alfie Pond headed the ball into the back of the net again in the 43rd minute to double Wolves’ lead. Everton seemed to be unable to sway the momentum of the game in their favour as the Wolves didn’t allow them to be on the ball for long enough and maintained a stronghold over the proceedings.

They started in style with Fraser rounding off another clean finish from inside the box to bag a brace in the team’s first outing in the league. But, the Wolves weren’t done yet with number 7 Tyler Roberts striking again at the hour mark to cap off a performance that was as convincing as they come.

“We started the game poorly. It was a different climate and environment for the boys to perform in. We didn’t start the game well enough. We lacked intensity and purpose with our press. I think we made the game quite easy for Wolves,” Everton coach Lauris Coggin said after the game.

“Obviously, the reflection is that it was a good experience overall, playing against a more senior Wolves side, which is a very strong side, so for our lads to have an opportunity to play against a very good side a little bit more senior than us is definitely a very good experience,” he further added.

Wolves coach James Collins is still being practical with regards to the challenges lying ahead for his team. He acknowledged that they benefitted from playing a familiar side in the first game but that would not be the case from here onwards in the tournament.

“We knew Everton and we knew our opponents really well. From now on, we won’t know our opponents really well. So, from now on each game will be a different challenge. We will take each game as it comes and respect each opponent. We have come to this tournament to try and do well and it will be a very different challenge,” Collins signed off.

Wolverhampton Wanderers and Everton will next face RFYC and Sudeva Delhi FC in their respective next games at RCP on May 20, Saturday.

Brief Scores: Wolverhampton Wanderers 4 (Nathan Fraser 5’ 48’, Alfie Pond 43’, Tyler Roberts 60’) – 0 Everton FC