The Banks Beer-sponsored Barbados Football Association’s Champions Cup will have a new king this year.
Last night at the Wildey, St Michael AstroTurf, defending champions Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme (BDFSP) were booted out of the knockout tournament after losing 1-0 to Rendezvous at the quarterfinal stage.
Rendezvous struck early to secure their semi-final spot when in the 12th minute midfielder Ramano Snagg took a magnificently measured shot at goal off a corner from the left side that beat the BDFSP’s defenders and custodian Dario Weir into the back of the nets. The BDFSP’s supporters were stunned while Rendezvous’ loyal following were abuzz.
The soldiers needed to equalize and kept the ball on the flanks and then sought to push it inside the 18-yard box to captain Romario Harewood or Raheim Sargeant who had several chances that went a begging. Three minutes to play before half-time and Sargeant took a powerful shot at goal but thanks to fantastic goalkeeping from 17-year-old Parkinson Memorial student Justin Sandiford, who handled himself like a pro in his first Champions Cup outing, BDFSP were unable to score.
It has been said during the season that the BDFSP play better football in the second half of their matches and they seemed to want to justify that suggestion. The resumption saw Harewood leading from the front with a speculative long range shot at goal. That was followed by several other attempts, but Rendezvous’ young tyro, Sandiford, was in his element between the uprights. He simply would not succumb to the pressure. And added to his classy performance on the night, inspirational defending especially from Paul Lovell and Roy Richards denied BDFSP any whiff of a comeback as time on the clock ran out on them.
In the second quarterfinal encounter Mackeson Brittons Hill also made it through to the semifinal-final round with a 1-0 victory over Direct TV Paradise. This came thanks to the conversion of a penalty by Mustafa Haqq in the 17th minute. It all came about when T’Shane Lorde took out three Paradise defenders and was met with a strong tackle from custodian Jason Boxhill. It was an obvious infringement that first led referee Desmond Edwards to blow his whistle and then to point to the shot.
Having scored Brittons Hill then defended as though their lives depended on it. And though Paradise created the occasional opportunity Brittons Hills’ fortress at the back held very firm
On Saturday an unbelievable 16 goals were scored in the other quarterfinal round matches. Weymouth Wales edged Pinelands 6-4 in a thriller that had fans shouting their heads off from the sidelines at the AstroTurf. Hadan Holligan scored in the 4th minute, Malcolm Marshall in the 7th, Jadai Clarke in the 11th and 43rd, while Kemar Headley also accounted for two goals in the 21st and 56th minute respectively. For Pinelands Tito Jones netted in the 60th minute, Jamar Perch scored in the 44th, Shane Welch made it three for his team in the 63rd and Keith Warner found the back of the nets in the 79th. But that was as good as it got.
University of the West Indies Blackbirds won 4-2 against Notre Dame compliments of their star striker Mario Harte who scored in the 30th and 53rd minutes. The big talented Diquan Adamson made it 3-0 in the 58th minute and Jairo Lombardo completed their scoring with a 66th minute strike.
Their pride finally stung, Notre Dame seemed to wake from an offensive slumber thanks first to the hardworking Dwayne Mars who scored in the 78th minute. Dames played their best football over the final ten to fifteen minutes of the game and were rewarded for their industry when in the 90th minute Ranaldo Newton netted to bring some semblance of respectability to the score sheet, even if in defeat.