GT show one-off mastery again

George Town Football Club don’t have a great record in the Premier League but when it comes to one-off games they are definitely up there with the best. That was epitomised when with the clock ticking down they scored to take a dramatic 2-1 victory over Elite.

The match at the TE McField Annex was the final game in the three-match series that included North Village Rams from Bermuda in the first round of the Caribbean Club Champions tournament.

George Town drew 0-0 with the Rams and Elite beat the visitors 2-1 in the second game. It was finely poised for in the final game, George Town needing victory to go through and a draw would have put Elite through.

Captained by midfielder Ian Lindo, GT have become big match specialist in recent seasons, winning the Digicel Cup and FA Cup in the past two seasons. They were knocked out of the Digicel Cup by Elite this term so are especially intent on keeping the FA Cup for a third consecutive time.

The match on Thursday started perfectly for Elite when a Dwayne ‘Gaza’ Wright low cross was steered into his own net by Paul Smith. Wright was credited with the goal but it was definitely an own goal.

George Town pressed and probed in their usual efficient fashion and were rewarded with an equaliser by the consistent midfield scorer Fabian Malcolm in the 40th minute.

Elite must have thought they were through until three minutes before the end when a mix up between Elite’s Jairo Sanchez and keeper Derek Rivers presented Limberg ‘Naddy’ Cuevas with an open goal for the winner. Up to that point, Rivers was having a good game, as did GT keeper Miguel Pitta. Both were kept busy throughout.

George Town celebrated long and hard after the game, lofting Cuevas around like a trophy.

Lee Ramoon, George Town’s Technical Director, said: “I am elated but more so for the guys. They worked so hard just to be in the tournament. All the training they did in terms of extra sessions early in the morning paid off for them and I’m very happy that we topped the group.”

Ramoon is not too concerned that the consensus is that George Town were lucky to go through. “But that’s football. We scored an own goal in the first five minutes of the game, so that’s how the cookie crumbles. Even though we were down, I’m happy that the guys held their ground and were disciplined about it.

“All we needed was a victory. That’s what I asked them for and they came through. Now we go to Puerto Rico from 1-6 May to play the Islanders and a team from Trinidad. We’re looking forward to that because it’s a great opportunity for the guys to play some of the better teams in the region. Some of my guys play in for the national team as well and this gives them an opportunity to play in a different situation and not just at national level.

“I tell my team that they have the talent to play at this level, it’s just about the commitment and I think if they work hard over the next four weeks we can get one or two great results which would be a great accomplishment. Some of the opposition are semi-pros.”

Ramoon is pleased that Jeffrey Webb, President of the Cayman Islands Football Association, will officially become President of CONCACAF at the end of May, making him the most powerful executive in the whole of the Caribbean and Americas.

“It’s a great accomplishment for Jeff and we wish him all the best,” said Ramoon. “He’s been in football a long time and been exposed at that level so he does have the experience and capabilities to run the CONCACAF division. For Cayman it definitely exposes us in more than one way. We should get more youth tournaments here and more opportunities for them.”

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