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Following Vishal Kaith’s collapse, Arsh Shaikh shows nerves of steel Sport-rated




ATK Mohun Bagan defeated Odisha FC 2-0 in the 2022-23 Indian Super League knockout match to reach the semi-finals where they will face Hyderabad FC. While the goals from Hugo Boumous and Dimitri Petratos were memorable, people will remember each other’s Mariner from this game.

In the 61st minute, Odisha FC striker Diego Mauricio’s elbow crashed into ATKMB goalkeeper Vishal Kaith during a free kick, knocking out the latter. The concern on Mauricio’s face was evident as he joined the others on the field in desperate calls for medical assistance.

From the press box at Salt Lake Stadium, a distraught Juan Ferrando, the coach of ATK Mohun Bagan, could be seen running to his player’s aid. The situation reached such a point that an ambulance entered the field of play at high speed.

The 35,256 people at the venue waited with bated breath, hope and prayer. The broadcast featured faces of distraught fans and even a certain Manolo Marquez, the coach of Hyderabad FC.

Finally, Vishal Kaith, a bit beside himself, emerged from a crowd of players, both ATK Mohun Bagan and Odisha FC, as the crowd erupted in loud cheers. While there was no doubt that Ferrando would take him out after such an incident, a certain 20-year-old rose to the occasion.

Having never played an ISL league match before, it was time for the youngster Arsh Anwer Shaikh to step into the fray in an important match and finish the match. While acrobatic saves weren’t necessary, he knew the basics.

If you were at the stadium, you’ve surely heard the sporadic cheers from the crowd after Arsh made a simple collection, or even thought quickly during a punt.

Interestingly, he had previously featured twice for the Mariners in last year’s AFC Cup, where the youngster even kept a clean sheet in their 4-0 win over Basundhara Kings. Shaikh also has two Durand Cup 2022 appearances to his credit, including a clean sheet.

However, the second goalkeeper has to always be ready with the gloves because he never knows when it will be his turn, and Arsh was ready for his moment.

Unfortunately for coach Juan, a list of injuries awaits him before his semi-final against Hyderabad FC. Before Kaith was forced to withdraw from the match due to medical circumstances, winger Ashique Kuruniyan was forced to leave the field within the first 10 minutes due to injury.

“I am not satisfied (with the situation) because right now Vishal is in the hospital, Ashique has a big injury. The most important thing is the health (of the players). At this moment I am afraid for the situation of these players. I’m not thinking about the result or anything else.” ferrando revealed.

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