There will be a new name on the Sunday League Appleton Cup after cup holders CML Claymores crashed out of the semifinals to Boca Juniors.
Both semifinal second legs produced scoreless draws. With Boca holding a slender 1-0 lead over the Claymores from the first leg, they progressed to the final on aggregate.
The return leg at Ed Bush turned out to be very close, with Boca content to sit on their lead and inviting CML to attack.
Boca defended heroically, with goalkeeper Alexis Reves in particular in sparkling form as their defense repelled everything the Claymores attempted, which earned them a place in the cup final on May 10.
The other semifinal between OtisAir Wanderers and Harry’s at the TE McField Annex was equally tight.
Clear-cut chances were rare, but of the two sides, the Wanderers called into action the opposition goalkeeper more as he pulled off several smart saves to keep his side in the tie.
At the full-time whistle the game was still at a stalemate, and with the tie delicately poised 1-1 from the first leg, the match progressed straight to penalty kicks. Each of the sides’ first five penalties were expertly dispatched, so it went into sudden death territory.
The sixth spot kick was missed by each team as the tension noticeably rose.
The seventh kick was finished with aplomb by each side as the remaining players realized that they soon could be called to take a kick from 12 yards. Then the pressure proved to be too much for the Wanderers, who saw their eighth kick expertly saved, and it fell to Yaz Muratagic to score the winning kick for Harry’s to win 7-6 on penalties. Meanwhile, Boca Juniors couldn’t keep up their good cup form when they played Fidel’s Old Boys in a rearranged league match, falling to 1-0 defeat.
In a close match at the Annex, very few chances were created by either side and at full-time, the only goal that separated the sides was the opening strike that arrived on 29 minutes.
It arrived via the best move of the match as a flowing Old Boys attack ended up with Olar Razvan’s perfect cross being finished off by Paul Chivers’s rasping volley. Craig Arthur had a great game for Old Boys in midfield.
Although Boca tried their best to find a breakthrough back into the match, their minds seemed to be preoccupied with their looming cup final appearance.
The final league matches of the season are scheduled for this weekend with CML hosting Maples and Atletico Luca playing Old Boys at the Annex. League champions OtisAir Wanderers face cup finalists Harry’s at Ed Bush.