By Michael Benjamin
Weeks of intense and competitive rivalry will climax delectably when Alpha
‘The Hammer’ United FC face off against counterpart, Rhythm Squad FC, when the GFA/Stag Beer 2014 Futsal Football tournament concludes at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall on Sunday November 22.
Had football fans nurtured any doubts of the treat in store, those doubts would have been dispelled after witnessing the semi-final matches at the same venue, last Saturday evening. Rhythm Squad swamped Santos 3-0 compliments of goals by Sceyon Hope (18) and Stefon Ramsay (26 & 30) while Alpha advanced after steamrolling Western Tigers 5-1. The winning team’s goals came off the boots of Dwight Peters who scored a brace in the 6th and 9th minutes, Christopher Camacho (10), Daniel Wilson (20) and Paredes Aldair (29). Phillip Rowley (19) scored Western Tigers’ lone success, albeit inconsequentially.
Alpha started their quest for the top spot in the final at a fast pace and it was not long before Peters extricated himself from a tussle in front of the opposition’s goal and shot past their custodian, Dereck Carter. The dapper Alpha striker starred again three minutes later after he was fed a dolly of a pass from Paredes and sunk the effort. Camacho joined the party one minute later and pushed the advantage to 3 nil for his team at the half time whistle.
Rowley retaliated for the ‘Tigers’ just after resumption when he stabbed in a powerful left foot shot from the centre of the court but Wilson retaliated one minute later with a pinpoint shot for Alpha to maintain its dominance.
Thereafter, with the clock ticking away the minutes, the game assumed a ferocious pace and both goalies, Carter and Ronson Williams, were peppered with wicked shots which they expertly kicked or punched out. The final chapter of the exciting duel was played out when Aldair’s power shot zoomed past Carter moments before the final whistle.
The players of Santos and Rhythm Squad battled during the initial exchanges, albeit unsuccessfully, as both sides exhibited astute defensive skills. Sceyon Hope broke the pattern when he sent in a zipper from mid court in the 18th minute that sped past everyone including the goalkeeper, Dervin Bennet.
Bennet made amends for the lapse less than one minute later when he correctly judged a shot from Teon Jones and sprang to his right, intercepting the stinging offering and averting sure disaster but Stefon Ramsay corrected the play when he slammed in a fierce left foot shot from the right flank that steamed past the Santos custodian.
With two goals in arrears and time against them, Santos’ players upped the ante but were effectively denied when Amos Ramsay sent a dolly of a pass to his namesake, Stefon, and the final whistle sounded simultaneously with the ball settling aback the network.
A similar display of guts and skill is highly anticipated when both teams clash for championship honours and the $400,000 first prize on offer Sunday November 22; the loser pockets half that amount.
Consequently, Santos FC will tackle Western Tigers in the third place playoff with the winners and runners up receiving $125,000 and $75,000 respectively. Action on the final night gets underway at 18:30hrs.
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