Sunburst Camptown take 3rd with 2-1 win over Bakewell Topp XX
Alpha ‘The Hammer’ United prevailed in the battle of the TITANS to win their second Kashif & Shanghai Championship with an electrifying 3-2 win over Pele on New Year’s night at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence.
Witnessed by a capacity and energetic crowd which included President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, Honorable Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Minister of Culture Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony and PNC Member of Parliament Basil Williams, fans saw what has been described as one of the best games ever witnessed locally.
From the first whistle, fans knew that they were in for a treat with the teams looking crisp in attack and solid in defence. It was Pele who would take the lead 14 minutes into the game with the hyped up crowd cheering the players on.
Captain Gregory Richardson and the diminutive forward Devon Millington combined to keep the Alpha defence on their toes.
The daft, crisp and slick touches displayed by both Richardson and Millington caused problems for Alpha’s defence. It was this same combination that resulted in the first goal with Richardson working his way down the right side of Alpha’s defence; some nimble footwork with Millington, saw them easing into the box where Richardson passed to Millington whose shot flew past Ronson Williams to settle in the nets.
The resulting cheers from the crowd could have been heard as far as Berbice and Linden and while one perhaps felt that that would have silenced Alpha’s players and their supporters, that was not the case.
By now the adrenalin was now flowing on field and Alpha went about the job of equalizing straight away.
Pele’s celebrations were abruptly grounded with Dwight Peters pouncing on a loose ball following poor defensive work by Pele to calmly place the ball into goal one minute after Pele sailed into the lead; the battle well and truly on.
There was no letting up by either team with all the departments stepping up to the plate and delivering. Howard Lowe, Alpha’s Captain taking on the responsibility of trying to contain Richardson and Millington while Charles Pollard was kept busty by Grenadian forward Kithson Bain, Dwight Peters and Howard Lowe at the other end.
With the game 26 minutes old, Lowe handed Alpha the lead from a corner when he found himself unmarked to help the ball into the nets; it was pandemonium in the stands once again as the celebrations continued with the Alpha players urging their fans to keep the flow going.
Nine minutes later it was a level score card again as Richardson this time on his own took on the Alpha defence worked his way close to the target before unleashing a shot past the advancing Williams in the 35th minute.
For the fans, spectators at the venue, on NCN TV and on the Internet, it was exactly what the doctor ordered on a beautiful and colourful New Year’s night and at one of the better venues and Grounds in the Caribbean. While this was not T20 cricket the action was equally pulsating.
The half came with the scores remaining unchanged 2-2. The final 45 minutes was not expected to be any different from the first and indeed it was not.
The chances were created but the efficiency in finishing was not there like the first half. Changes were made by both teams as they sought to maintain their hold on proceedings.
Little difference was seen between the two sides as the Technical and Tactical combat continued. Shawn Beveney missed back to back chances for Pele and Richardson floored a difficult one. Sean Johnson in goal for Pele had his work cut out and while he kept a clean slate prior to this encounter he found out that Alpha’s marksmen were of a different calibre.
It was always to be a tight fight and it took a well placed Dagger Like goal by Alpha’s second half substitute, Dominican Kurslon Benjamin on the stroke of fulltime to see Alpha laying hands on the championship trophy for the 21st edition of the Kashif & Shanghai tournament.
There was no time left for Pele to mount an attack in search of another equalizer as the final whistle was sounded by Referee Stanley Lancaster.
Despite the fact that there had to be a winner, fans on both sides of the divide said they truly enjoyed the game.
This is Alpha’s second championship in four finals having won in 2007/2008; losing in 2009/2010 to BK International Western Tigers and in 2005/2006 to Bakewell Topp XX.
Alpha scored a total 15 goals while conceding 4 in their four wins which earned them the title.
Anthony Abrams netted 5 of his team’s goals to end as the leading goal scorer and the Golden Boot Award.
Alpha will collect Two Million dollars cash and a US$25,000 kit sponsorship deal compliments of the USA based Plus One Fashions. Pele will receive One million dollars and a US$10,000 kit sponsorship deal also from Plus One Fashions.
The Third place game saw Sunburst Camptown erasing a one goal deficit to beat Bakewell Topp XX 2-1.
Scoring for Camptown was Nigel ‘Powers’ Codrington in the 59th minute which nullified the early advantage Topp XX had when Keon Sears rocked the nets in the 34th minute.
Codrington’s strike partner Devon Forde again followed in his footsteps when he nailed the winner four minutes to full time, 86th minute.
Camptown will collect $500,000 for their win with Topp XX pocketing $250,000.
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