Tutorial High School will face St George’s High School, while North Ruimveldt Multilateral battle Queenstown Community High in tomorrow’s semi-final of the Premier Sports Promotions, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport under-17 School’s Football tournament at Ministry of Education ground.
Played in rain, on a wet and slippery ground which had puddles of water on it, four second half goals led Tutorial to a 4-1 drubbing over St Mary’s in yesterday’s opening game.
After a goalless first half, Mario Padmore opened the account in the 48th minute before Terrence Shepherd equalized in 59th minute.
David Coates then beat Goalkeeper Larriheo Eastman twice in the space of 10 minutes before Zion Gray closed off the game in the 73rd minute when he too found the back of the nets.
In the second game which was played in bright sunshine on a ground that was still soggy, Lodge thought they has scored from a free kick early in the match only to see the linesman’s flag raised to signal ‘off-side’ and the goal did not count.
Although Lodge looked the slightly better team collectively, Queenstown looked the fitter unit especially since the teams had to kick the ball harder due soft ground.
When it seemed as if neither team would score in the first 40 minutes the talented Kelsie ‘Neymar’ Benjamin collected a true ball from the left side and dribbled a defender with lots of flair. With only the advancing Keeper to beat, Benjamin did so with consummate ease before embarking on his an exaggerated celebration which climaxed with him ‘high fiving’ his Coach and teammates on the Bench. The goal gave Queenstown the lead in the 33rd minute.
In the second half both teams counterattacked furiously and both sides wasted some clears shots on Goal as the tempo picked up. Benjamin led the raids on the Lodge Goal but although he exhibited some dazzling maneuvers he was often guilty of keeping to ball too long as he sacrificed not passing the ball to his screaming teammates for personal glory. But at just 15 and already a senior team player at Santos, he is certainly one for the future.
The ‘final-four’ stage of the 16-team tournament has arguably the best four teams involved in what will be 90-minute games.
Tutorial advanced by beating East Ruimveldt and St Mary’s, while St George’s qualified by getting the better of Bishop’s High after being awarded a walkover against Dolphin Secondary.
Multi hammered Richard Ishmael and St Stanislaus to earn a place in tomorrow’s second semi-final and will face-off with Queenstown Secondary who defeated St John’s and Lodge in the previous encounters. (Sean Devers)
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