Defending champions Latinos FC and regular season champs Scholars International FC recently earned their spots in the semi finals of the Cayman Islands Football Association FA Cup Knock-Out competition.
Latinos defeated Roma FC 2-1 Saturday in their quarterfinal match up at the East End playing field. Meanwhile, Scholars took down rivals George Town 1-0 on Monday.
The semi-finals will be held at the North Side playing field Sunday. A double header kicks off at 4pm as East End FC challenge Scholars, with Latinos taking on Elite FC at 6pm.
Both teams endured gruelling games to make it to the semis.
In Latinos’ game, good play from the onset reaped dividends early. In the 4th minute, national team representative Alfredo Challenger slipped one into the back of the net.
However, Roma is determined to stay in the game. Wayne ‘Bigga’ Smith levelled the score in the ninth minute with a solid shot on goal. The first half ended tied 1-1.
The second half was a colourful one. Referee Francisco Cheoloe was the centre of attention as he flashed a barrage of cards.
Both teams battled desperately for the clinching goal. In the 59th minute, the defending champions breathed a sigh of relief. Jose Liu Bush rammed the winning goal into the net.
Latinos held on from there and secured its spot in the semi finals.
Latinos Manager Miguel Brown said Roma gave his squad a good run for its money with a great game.
‘This game was not a walk in the park. My team had to dig deep to come out with a win.
‘Roma is a fighting team and they really pushed hard to get past us.’
Brown went on to say his team has a good shot at repeating.
‘This [game] is behind us now. We are going to train very hard. With the expected return of Marshall Forbes (our key player and national representative) at this stage of the competition, we might just retain this title.’
Roma Coach Lenox White said his team was missing key players such as Omar Stewart and Omar Mundle. White said a lack of training was the main factor in their defeat.
‘We won one title this season. This season is over now so we will have to come back next season to fight again.’
In Scholars’ game, physical play was the style of the day. Both teams tried hard to assert their will and take the lead, especially in the first half.
Some of the more entertaining sequences came from the battles featuring George Town’s Justin Pierre and Garth Anderson against Scholars utility player Renee Carter and Oneal Clayton.
By half-time, the score was 0-0. Referee Alfredo Whittaker was kept on his toes throughout the game.
Both teams made considerable substitutions but these changes made no difference as both teams stood their ground.
In spite of the defensive brilliance from the likes of Donald ‘Naddy’ Solomon Jr., George Town would soon slip up.
In the 87th minute, a loose ball allowed David Harding to head in the winning goal past goal keeper Clay Coleman.
Scholars Head Coach Antonio Smith said he was pleased with the results. Although it was a slim margin, he said his team was short of two key players including Phillip Berry in defence.
‘We did our best although short of key players. I am pleased with the result and [I’m] looking forward to making it to the final to take [the] second [piece of] silverware of the 2008 season.
As for Latinos and Scholars’ opponents, they had varied paths to the semis.
At the East End field, East End FC took down Bodden Town 6-2.
Bodden Town featured a surprising team. Most of the squad was young but there were some more mature players. East End showed veteran poise in eliminating them from the competition.
Elite stopped Sunset 2-1 in a tight quarterfinal game. Jedd Ebanks of Elite and Tom Elliot of Sunset could only watch as their teams gave a valiant effort.
Tireless forward Calvin Jefford drew first blood in the fifth minute to give Elite a 1-0 lead. However in the 36th minute, Roy Ebanks equalised for Sunset. At halftime the score stood at one goal each.
Both teams continued passionate play in the second half. Jefford had the winning strike for Elite as he sealed the win with a goal in the 80th minute.
For more information, contact CIFA at 949-5775 or email [email protected].