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Dec 31, 2019 Sports
Guyana Defence Force claw back to beat Guyana Police Force; Fruta Conquerors edge Santos
By Franklin Wilson
The two actors in New Year’s Night Final of the 2019/2020 GFF Super 16 Cup have been confirmed, The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and Fruta
Conquerors Football Clubs. The two got past their respective semi final opponents on Sunday night last at the GFC Ground.It was an entertaining night of football which was fueled by the heart-warming turn out of fans not seen at a local football match for quite some time and they were not disappointed; the Guyana Defence Force turning on the heat against their rivals from the Guyana Police Force (GPF) in the last ten (10) minutes to surge to an emphatic and memorable 4-2 victory, while Fruta Conquerors needed extra time to defeat a determined and resurgent, Santos 2-1.
Among the dignitaries present to witness the matches were Commissioner of Police, Leslie James and Brigadier (Retired) Bruce Lovell who is also GFF Vice President. It was a breathtaking evening of combat with the remaining four teams of the 16 club tournament, which had kicked off on December 15, really putting on a show for their fans and supporters.
The main event between the Soldiers and Police produced a mouth watering clash which was heavily
tilted in Police’ favour going into the homestretch but then, the more accomplished side in jungle warfare burst out of the bushes with an exhilarating display of ball weaving that not only had Police mesmerised, but the fans also.
It was the GDF that had taken the lead in the 25th minute through a Delroy Fraser goal. It was a lead that they would enjoy for sometime as Police fought to get even. They finally did in the second minute of added on time in the first half when Pernel Schultz scored the first of his double from the penalty spot.
Soon after the whistle was sounded by Referee Sherwin Moore to signal half time, a much needed break for both teams which did not relent for one moment during the opening half. It surely set up for a pulsating final 45 minutes and indeed it was.
The pendulum would swing heavily in favour of the Police side when Schultz was called upon yet again to perform duties from the penalty spot following a glaring handled ball in the area by a GDF player in the 50th minute.
Like he did at the end of the first half, Shultz made no mistake as he guided the ball into the back of the nets past Enoch Carmichael between the uprights for the Soldiers. The Lawmen were doing a fine job at keeping the Soldiers at bay urged on by their fans but then the challenge that arose for the respective Coaches was how to defend in the case of Police and how to get the equaliser from the GDF stand point.
GDF Coach Joseph ‘Bill’ Wilson had rung the changes between the 61st and 77th minutes when he introduced Sherwin Caesar (61st), Runnel Gordon (61st), Shawn Arthur (63rd), Ian Dooker (77th) and Amos Ramsey (77th) for Olvis Mitchell, Ryan Searles, Eusi Phillips, Delroy Fraser, Benjamin Opara.
Police on the other hand had made one change since the 37th minute when Lionel Holder was replaced by William Europe. The fresh legs no doubt inserted by Wilson brought an explosive display from the Army in the final ten minutes as they were relentless against the Police.
As the minutes ticked away, Police were harbouring thoughts of a place in the final, but that was not to be
as from the 82nd minute, they were back on the defensive when Travis Henry fired in the equaliser past Kavis Fraser.
Thereafter, there was an unremitting offensive display from the GDF that the Police team had no immediate response. In the 85th minute, Delwin Fraser fired in the go ahead goal for the GDF with the sealer tapped in by Sherwin Caesar in the 90+1 minute.
The fans backing the Soldiers were celebrating and cheering on their players in that final ten minutes which surely added fuel to their fire. Police’ only other change was in the 90+2 minute when Colwyn Adams replaced Jermain Junior but by then as they say, it was all over bar the shouting.
The first semi final between Fruta Conquerors and the resurgent Santos was also a keenly contested affair and whilst the former started the match as odds on favourites to win, Santos pushed them all the way.
The tournament’s leading goal scorer, Delon Lanferman (5 goals) sent Conquerors into the lead in the
11th minute during a period that the reigning Elite League champions were very dominant.
Conquerors created chances but were unable to make them count. Whilst all of this was unfolding, Santos gradually grew in confidence as they kept the Fruta boys at bay whilst conjuring up a few good attempts of their own.
Exchanges went back and forth until the 58th minute when Santos’ Orin Yarde found the equaliser for his team that balanced proceedings. Neither team were able to break down each other and at the end of full time, the score read, Conquerors 1 Santos 1.
An extra 30 minutes was required as per rules to ensure that a winner was had and it was in the first four minutes of this period that Fruta Conquerors sealed their place in the championship match.
Ryan ‘Bum Bum’ Hackett it was who fired in the winning goal (94th minute) for his side, whilst keeping Santos at bay, but not being able to further increase the advantage but it was enough to see them
It was the first goal (s) conceded by both Conquerors and Santos in this knockout tournament. Santos and Police still have an opportunity to end the tournament on a high when they collide in the third place match from 19:00hrs tomorrow night (New Year’s Night), the winner pocketing $500,000 and the loser, $250,000.
The grand finale between Fruta Conquerors and the Guyana Defence Force from 21:30hrs has a cheque for Two Million Dollars for the winner with One Million going to the team ending as the loser.
An enthralling end to what has been an entertaining tournament is anticipated.
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