MVP Anthony ‘Awo’ Abrams’ 18th minute strike was just enough to carry Slingerz Football Club to back to back titles when the second annual Westside Mashramani Champions Cup knock-out football tournament ended on Saturday evening at the Uitvlugt Community Centre Ground.
Witnessed by a large and animated crowd, the newest club on the West Demerara once again showed their superiority but it was not all easy sailing for the club that features a number of national standouts, led by the nippy forward, Abrams who ended the competition with eight (8) goals in three games including a helmet-trick and hat-trick.
Saturday’s final was a repeat of last year’s duel but this time around Den Amstel have only themselves to blame having created early opportunities but lacked the necessary finishing touch in the attacking third which proved to be their downfall in the end.
The third place game between old rivals Uitvlugt Warriors and Pouderoyen had to be decided via penalty kicks and the boys from the West Bank prevailed, 5-3. This was after a 1-1 stalemate in regulation and extra time.
Den Amstel were all over Slingerz in the opening stanza of the battle, moving the ball around skillfully as they found space to move forward virtually unhindered. However, the experience of the Slingerz unit stood out as they absorbed the pressure before turning on some of their own.
The colourful West Side crowd which included a number of overseas based Guyanese and representatives of the sponsors were enjoying every moment of the exchanges.
With chances coming their way and not being able to make them count, Den Amstel were soon shown how to finish when the ever present Anthony Abrams netted his eight goal of the tournament in the 18th minute.
As it turned out, it was the golden goal of the tournament which was worth $500,000 dollars as neither team were able to trouble the score sheets again despite coming close on a few occasions.
For their efforts, Den Amstel earned a cheque for $250,000.
The third place game was a ding dong affair which saw home team Uitvlugt dominating the first 45 minutes and in that time they also established the early advantage with a goal off the boot of Mark Evelyn seven (7) minutes into the game.
The level of intensity and control that Uitvlugt enjoyed in the first half was not seen in the second period as Pouderoyen led by elder statesmen, Ike Garraway, Toine Lopes, Clement Brown and goalkeeper Marvin Griffith gradually pulled the game back in their favour by outplaying Uitvlugt and being the hungrier of the two sides.
Constant pressure brought Pouderoyen the equalizer in the 63rd minute thanks to Kip Austin. The remaining minutes saw both teams going after the winner but that did not materialize, not even extra time changed the 1-1 scoreline.
Penalty kicks was then the next option to decide the winner of this game and it was Pouderoyen that were clinical in finishing as they scored all five opposed to Uitvlugt’s three, custodian Griffith saving Uitvlugt’s first shot comfortably.
Even though they scored their next three, they were not required to take their final shot as Pouderoyen buried all theirs to win the $150,000 third place cash prize, Uitvlugt walked away with $100,000. (Franklin Wilson)
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