09:00PM, Thursday 09 September 2021
Under the shadow of Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, Slough Scorpionz celebrated their sixth national five-a-side competition win at the weekend, lifting the Soccer Aid Cup.
The Scorpionz came through local and regional qualifiers in Slough and London to claim their place in the final at Manchester City’s Academy Ground where they beat opponents from Leicester 5-2.
The journey began at Slough Powerleague where they comfortably qualified for the regional event in Shoreditch. They didn’t have things all their own way there but held their nerve to win a penalty shootout in the final.
The seven-strong team that travelled to Manchester featured goalkeeper Hassan Hussain, Singh Sabha’s Jovan Bain, Conrad Joseph and Pritpal Raju, as well as England six-a-side player Arjun Jung and the combative Anwar Alzinber. The team was led by captain Umar Riaz and manager Zuf Asghar. Like the Scorpionz, their Leicester-based opponents TCFC had won a few national titles, including the recent Neymar tournament in the UK.
Baines and Joseph were both denied in the early stages by outstanding saves from the TCFC keeper but Raju was brought on after 15 minutes and smashed them in front from close range. They doubled their advantage from the penalty spot after the TCFC keeper had a rush of blood to the head, and Jung made no mistake from the spot. TCFC cut the deficit before half-time with a strike from distance, but Scorpionz restored their two-goal lead when Bains scored with a fine strike from Riaz’s assist. Again, TCFC hit back before the Scorpionz took control in the final 15 minutes, scoring through Bains and Alzinber – who broke through and chipped the keeper – to round things off in style.
After the game Riaz was presented with the Soccer Aid Trophy, cheered on by the Scorpionz players, coaching staff and supporters.