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ISL: After Vishal Kaith collapse, Arsh Shaikh shows nerves of steel

ATK Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Vishal Kaith was knocked unconscious after a collision with Diego Mauricio. However, young Arsh Shaikh rose to the ocassion.

ISL: After Vishal Kaith collapse, Arsh Shaikh shows nerves of steel

Arsh Anwer Shaikh


The Bridge Desk

Published: 4 March 2023 9:13 PM GMT

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

In the 61st minute, Odisha FC forward Diego Mauricio's elbow crashed into ATKMB's goalkeeper Vishal Kaith during a freekick, which knocked the latter out. The worry on Mauricio's face was apparent when he joined the others on the pitch in frantically calling for medical assistance.

From the Salt Lake stadium's media box, one could see a distressed Juan Ferrando, the ATK Mohun Bagan coach, sprinting to his player's aid. The situation reached such a stage that an ambulance entered the pitch with great speed.

The 35,256 people at the venue were waiting with bated breath, hoping and praying. Faces of distressed fans and even a certain Manolo Marquez, the Hyderabad FC coach, was seen on the broadcast.

Finally, a slightly out-of-sorts Vishal Kaith emerged from a crowd of players, both ATK Mohun Bagan and Odisha FC, as the crowd broke out into a loud cheer. While it was without a doubt that Ferrando would take him off after such an incident, a certain 20-year-old brilliantly rose to the ocassion.

Having never played an ISL league stage game before, it was time for young Arsh Anwer Shaikh to enter the fray in an important match and see the game off. And did he do that! While there weren't any acrobatic saves needed to be made, he had the basics down.

If you were in the stadium, you must have surely heard the sporadic cheers from the crowd after Arsh made a simple collection, or even was quick in his thinking during a clearance.

Interestingly, he had previously appeared 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 appearances in the 2022 Durand Cup under his belt, including a clean sheet.

Nevertheless, the second goalkeeper has to always be ready with his gloves as he never knows when he'll be called upon, and Arsh was ready for his moment.

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

“I'm not satisfied (with the situation) because at this moment Vishal is in the hospital, Ashique has a big injury. The most important thing is the health (of the players). At this moment, I'm scared about the situation of these players. I'm not thinking about the result or anything else,” Ferrando revealed.

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