A capacity crowd that at times threatened to burst the perimeter of the sidelines watched newly-crowned champion Huradiah dethrone Paloma in the final of the men’s category of the 7th Annual Atkinson Brothers 5-a-side Football Tournament which ended on Boxing Day, at the Kumaka Recreational ground in Moruca, Region 1.
Playing in the final game that brought the curtains down on what was an exciting competition Seth Robeiro’s smashing low free kick from just outside the penalty area was all that mattered, before the final whistle sounded to send off an eruption of celebrations among their supporters, who appeared to outnumber the defending champs fan base.
It came as a result of a foul committed just outside the ‘red zone’ and despite a wall, Robeiro’s powerfully delivered missile never left the turf and rocketed past the jumping line of defenders and the goalkeeper to land into the right corner of the goal in the 10th minute.
Unaccustomed to finding themselves trailing, Paloma tried desperately for the equalizer before the break, but found the steely defence of Huradiah too tough to penetrate and the half came with no adjustment to the scores.
The start of the final period provided fans with an early glimpse of what was in store for the remainder of the match as Huradiah’s first possession was a shot at goal, but the attempt sailed harmlessly wide.
However, it was proof that they were not going to let Paloma dictate the proceedings.
Paloma too was not going to go down without a fight and came close twice to scoring the equalizer, but a glaring miss and a feeble shot erased those chances.
Huradiah urged on by raucous support from the sidelines orchestrated a few attacks of their own and it took magnificent goalkeeping to dent their efforts.
As time went by, even the Paloma goalkeeper got involved in their offensive scheme and was lucky not to concede more goals as Huradiah seeing him way off his goal-line tried a few long range shots that were way off target.
Once again, Paloma threw away a good opportunity to score with a pass from their half finding an unmarked Ronald DaSilva, but his side-footed attempt landed agonizingly inches outside the right upright seconds before the final whistle sounded to confirm a new champion.
The women’s final had no such alarms or upset as reigning champions Silver Sands through a goal from tournament topscorer Annalisa Vincent in the 2nd minute scraped past a pesky Vendetta unit 1-0 to retain their title.
Vincent, who netted a total of ten goals, received a long pass that was delivered from inside her half and with only the goalkeeper to beat, dribbled past her and fired into an empty goal.
That proved to be the winning goal and enough for them to keep the title and bragging rights for another year.
Earlier, in the men’s semi-finals, Paloma beat Construction 1-0 through a first minute goal from R. DaSilva, while Huradiah hammered Kamwatta 5-0 with Terrence Howard netting a hat-trick in the 8th, 20th and 25th minutes, while Lexter Fredericks and Andel Abrahams added a goal apiece in the 14th and 15th minutes respectively.
Also occurring earlier was the Boys Under-13 and 15 and Veterans finals.
In the U-13 FINAL, Rising Sun beat Kumaka 2-1 with Roland Henry firing in a brace for the winners in the 5th and 8th minutes, while an own goal accounted for the losers response.
In the U-15 final, Night Warriors defeated Kairie 2-1 with Aaron Edwards and Dexter Jose netting in the 8th and 16th minutes respectively, while Navin Griffith responded in the 23rd minute for Kairie.
In the Vets final, Kumaka squeezed past Huradiah 1-0 thanks to a Michael Atkinson 26th minute strike.
The men’s champions and runner-up received $200,000 and $75,000 and trophies respectively.
The women’s category saw the champs collect $100, 000 and trophy, while the runner-up took home $40,000.
The Veterans went away with $15, 000 and the winning trophy, while the U-13 and 15 champions were rewarded with medals and trophies.
The event was deemed as a success by the Organisers.
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