Football: Airtel Cup-Draw complicates things for St Louis, pushes Anse Réunion into second place


Having already conceded two defeats in five games before the start of their latest fixture, St Louis wanted a win to keep things tight and throw group A wide open.

Their build-up was fine but their strikers failed to score, allowing Anse Réunion to grow more confident and attack them.
With Malagasy striker Firinga Fahidany only coming on as a substitute late in the game, Anse Réunion looked to Ronny Jacques and veteran Juel Ah-kong for goals.

The former gave the La Digue-based team the lead when he climbed over St Louis’ central defender Jude Marie to meet Andy Ernesta’s 73rd minute right-wing cross with a header that beat young goalkeeper Eugène Valentin, who was playing his second consecutive match after relegating first choice Dominic Chang-Waye to the substitutes’ bench.

Anse Réunion’s lead was short-lived as St Louis pulled level two minutes later. After being felled by Anse Réunion’s left back Steven Gomme, substitute Alpha Baldé picked himself up to play the resultant free-kick on to the head of the unmarked Zialor who thumped the ball home as the opposing team’s defenders lamented the poor marking inside their penalty area.

St Louis might regret not winning the match after young winger Fabien Cadeau’s 58th minute pile-driver crashed against the right post and striker Kenneth Khan was foiled by Anse Réunion’s goalkeeper Ricky Rose in injury time.

Despite sitting at the top of the group B standings, St Louis, who have played six games, winning three, drawing one and losing the other two, have the same number of points – 10 – like Anse Réunion and St Michel.
While Anse Réunion have played five times, St Michel will only play their fifth game this afternoon against basement team Sunshine.

St Louis’ coach Marc Mathiot told Sports Nation that the draw has complicated things for them.
“We badly needed a win to send the group wide open. Anything can happen in football but it is best that we win matches to make life easier for ourselves rather than wait for other teams’ results and hope to qualify,”

His opposite number, Malagasy Soamady Hafany of Anse Réunion, was “happy with the draw” and is confident that his team will win their next match against Sunshine.

G. G.

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