Alpha “The Hammer’ United faltered at the first hurdle in their quest to become the first Guiana’s Club Champions going under to top Surinamese side SV Intermoengotapoe 3-1 in the feature match on the first night of competition at the Stadium of Baduel in Cayenne on Wednesday night.
Dozens of Guyanese fans who turned out to support and cheer on their fellow countrymen were left to endure the agony of defeat against a more purposeful Suriname side, who had a distinct height advantage. Elton Browne gave the Guyanese fans a brief spark of hope when he scored, but they faltered.
Alpha, who were missing three of their top players looked a far cry from the champion team of Guyana as they looked very ordinary especially in their midfield play which was poor throughout the match.
The Surinamese, boasting a number of tall players, used the air ball to their advantage with Alpha failing to play the ball more on the carpet, rather, they fell to the air ball syndrome and virtually into the trap of SV Intermoengotapoe.
The first goal came after 35 minutes of play from a throw in on the right side of goal, Alpha were caught flat footed as the throw which was a powerful one saw the ball going into the box for the waiting Adensibha Jerrel to slap in a well taken shot.
The goal sent the small band of Surinamese spectators into a frenzy as the battle between these two rivals always produces keen action.
The lack of constructive play continued by Alpha as the Surinamese continued to enjoy ball possession by putting together numerous passes.
Their were a few anxious moments for Alpha who were able to put together a set of passes on a few occasions but found it difficult to handle their taller opponents since they failed to mark, finding it difficult to have players in the midfield when it mattered and played too clustered. Goalkeeper Ronson Williams did not enjoy a good first half too. The Guyanese were however able to limit the Surinamese to the solitary goal in the first half.
After the break they looked a bit more purposeful but 5 minutes into the half, they found themselves trailing by two when Jeron Stryder rocked a powerful shot past a lazy looking Williams at first post.
They started to string together more passes and were slowly gaining some confidence, Peter Parks taking the place of Frank Crandon to add some more depth and control to the midfield.
With the Guyanese supporters getting impatient and urging the team on, they were finally given something to cheer about when Elton Brown latched unto a ball midway in the opponents half weaved his way between two defenders before unleashing a well directed right foot shot past the advancing goalkeeper. This goal was converted in the 55th minute.
A golden opportunity was created a few minutes later for ‘The Hammer’ to hit in the equalizer, but Andrew Murray, who much more is expected from, messed up.
The hard working Gordon Henry picked up the ball in their defensive third and went on a solo run before passing it to Murray who was effective in further advancing the ball into the attacking third.
He was able to maneuver his way into the box and with the goal keeper well off his line his shot was directed just outside the upright. One could have felt the agony of the Guyanese supporters when the ball missed the target. If converted, it would have certainly changed the face of the game.
The Surinamese sealed the deal in the 77th minute, again, poor judgment by Williams costing the Guyanese.
A long ball from a goal kick made its way into the area and rather than allowing defender Kelvin McKenzie to take care of business, Williams advanced way off his line once too often.
The quick thinking Ricardo Misiedjan slipped the ball under the diving Williams into an open goal.
And while the Surinamese have triumphed at this level, the battle between the two countries is far from over. On the 14th the will square off in their 2nd round FIFA World Cup qualifying match in Suriname with the return fixture scheduled for Guyana on the 22nd.
The two sides will again face off in the 2008/09 edition of the Digicel Caribbean Cup championship.
The evening’s opening match saw French Guiana’s Champions club Geldar de Kourou edging out the number two team, US Matoury 3-2 in an exciting clash.
Orpheo Naly in the 13th minute and a double by David Martinon (16 & 54) secured the full 3 points for de Kourou. Netting for the losers were Sanbe Bodge (10) and Gerard Claire in the 83rd.
Alpha’s, chances of finishing in the top two of this competition depends on their performances in the remaining two clashes.
Tonight they tackle French Guiana’s Champion side Geldar de Kourou in the first match at 17:00hours. The main clash brings together SV Intermongotapoe and US Matoury at 19:00hrs.
SV Intermongotapoe and Geldar de Kourou are atop the points table with 3 each while Alpha and US Matoury bring up the rear without a point.
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