SINGAPORE - Twice they led and twice their opponents equalised.
When Guangyang Secondary School stepped onto the pitch for extra time after drawing 3-3 with Woodgrove Secondary School in the Schools National B Division boys' football League Two final, they were determined to get the job done.
And they did just that, scoring two goals in the 20-minute extra period to win their first B Division title 5-3 at the Singapore University of Technology and Design in front of about 100 supporters on Monday (April 15).
Guangyang coach K Arumugam hailed his team's mental fortitude after the victory.
"It was the best performance they have ever shown," he told The Straits Times. "They did well in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, but this was the icing on the cake."
Guangyang had started brightly, going 2-0 up in the first 10 minutes thanks to a header from Nafis Isham and a long strike from Mathavan Kamachee Sundram.
But Woodgrove substitute Hadif Sirat came on in the 15th minute and made an immediate impact, setting up teammate Deniel Aliqin J's goal four minutes later.
Hadif continued to impress with his speed and strength in midfield and, in the 29th minute, delivered a perfect corner kick for captain Irfan Affandy to head in the equaliser.
But their happiness was shortlived as Guangyang regained their lead 10 minutes later after striker Shaun Sanjiv Subash picked up a loose ball outside the penalty box and lashed home to give his team a 3-2 lead at half-time.
Woodgrove pushed forward in search of an equaliser in the second half and got their reward through Izaaz Aqil Azmi in the 48th minute.
Despite going down to 10 men after Raimi Ishraq Danial Abdullah was sent off for two yellow cards, Woodgrove held on to force extra time.
Determined not to slip up for a third time, Guangyang regained the lead four minutes into extra time when Shaun slotted past the Woodgrove goalkeeper from a tight angle for his second goal. Mathavan then sealed the victory four minutes from time.
Arumugam added: "I think they got a bit complacent at half-time so I told them to be focused and composed.
"Before extra time, I told them they're reaching their goal, they just have to put in a little bit more effort and have a never-say-die attitude.
"They played as a team and produced two wonderful goals."
Mathavan, 17, said: "I didn't expect this result, but I'm relieved because we've gone through a lot to get to where we are and it wasn't an easy journey. But, what we've done here, it's a moment to cherish for the rest of our lives."
Yesterday's League Two final was the third of five finals in the B boys' football tournament this year.
In the preliminary rounds, all schools are split into 16 groups with five to six schools per group.
The teams are then placed in five leagues - from League One to Five - based on the positions they finished in their groups.
St Gabriel's Secondary won the League Three title last Monday while Jurongville Secondary were crowned League One champions on Friday.