By Franklin Wilson
Defending Guyana Football Federation Super-16 champions, Guyana Defence Force on Friday evening last waltzed into the quarter-finals of this year’s Stag sponsored championship after getting past a stubborn Essequibo Select team 3-1 at the Georgetown Football Club ground, GFC.
The main event produced some anxious moments for the Army side as the lads from the Cinderella County represented well clawing back to tie the game at 1-1. The opening match between Elite League side Buxton United and Rivers View of Bartica ended with the former advancing to the round of eight with a solid 6-0 win.
The two winners will square off on Christmas night in the feature match at the Golden Grove, East Coast Demerara ground. Essequibo proved to be a tough foe for the GDF which was only able to break the deadlock, 27 minutes into the encounter.
Sherwyn Caesar was the player to breach the Essequibo defence and goalkeeper Andy Atkinson who stood solid between the uprights despite the loss. There were no other goals before the end of the first half but the Essequibians stung the Army early in the second half to draw level from the penalty mark.
Randy DeJonge was given the opportunity to take the penalty and did not disappoint, his shot flew past goalkeeper Enoch Carmichael in the 48th minute. But almost immediately after giving up the advantage, the GDF restored their one goal advantage when Abumchi Benjamin netted the first of his second half brace that secured victory for the GDF.
Benjamin rocked the nets in the 49th minute and closed out the win in the 71st minute whilst securing their place in the quarter-finals.
A double each from Ronaldo Fredericks and Dillon Wright fashioned Buxton United’s 6-0 win over Rivers View.
Fredericks scored in the 24th and 64th minutes, while, Wright ensured he didn’t go wrong by hitting the target in the 52nd and 88th minutes. Opening the scoring for Buxton was Paul Kingston in the 58th minute, while the other came from Tyrone Harper in the 75th minute.
Following the opening match, there was a colourful march past of the contesting clubs where GFF President Wayne Forde headed the list of dignitaries that took the salute. He was joined by Ansa McAl’s Earl Nelson, GFF Vice President Rawlston Adams and Exco Members, Maxine Stewart and Carmel Williams.
Nelson in his remarks expressed thanks to the GFF for allowing his company to partner with them for the tournament, noting that they are impressed with the way the game is being governed by the federation.
He also said that Ansa McAl will continue to support the continued development of the sport. Federation President Forde wished the teams the best and also extended gratitude to Ansa McAl, the main sponsors as well as the other corporate entities that have come on board.
Two more clubs will walk the plank this evening when play continues. The respective winners of the Fruta Conquerors vs Berbice Select (18:00hrs) and Western Tigers vs Police (20:00hrs) shindigs will also book quarter-finals slots later this month.
Following tonight’s action, the GFF/Stag Super 16 train will move to the East Coast location of Golden Grove on Friday where Ann’s Grove will lock horns with Soesdyke Falcons from 18:30hrs followed an all East Coast derby between Victoria Kings and Buxton Stars.
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