Out for eight months with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, Meridian Junior College (MJC) forward Mohamed Faizal returned to action only last month.
The 18-year-old National Football Academy player still turned in a match-winning performance against St Andrew's Junior College (SAJC) at the Jalan Besar Stadium yesterday to help MJC to the Schools National Football Championships A Division title.
Receiving a knock-down pass from team-mate Haziq Syamil, Faizal controlled the ball with his chest before turning to fire a half-volley from outside the penalty box in the 21st minute.
The goal proved to be the winner, as MJC held on for a 1-0 victory, despite having captain Muhammad Faiz sent off early in the second half.
Said Faizal: "I saw the goalkeeper off his line so I took the shot, but I was surprised to score because I thought I heard the referee blowing for offside."
He added that he was worried when he got injured last year but he went all out during physiotherapy and was "very relieved to be back".
MJC coach Fabio da Silva expressed delight at Faizal's impact.
The former S-League player said: "Faizal regularly communicates with both coaches and players, which makes our job easier. "He scored, attacked and defended today, and is my choice for Man of the Match."
Adding to the plaudits was SAJC captain Bervyn Goh. The 18-year-old said: "Faizal was by far the best player today, and even when we had three players on him, he still got away."
The defensive midfielder also remained gracious in defeat, after seeing his team come close on a few occasions in the second half.
"We were lucky in some of the matches, but today it didn't happen for us. MJC played fantastic, so credit to them," he said.
This article was first published on May 27, 2014.
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