Football: Airtel Cup semifinal-St Michel overcome La Passe in extra-time


15-June-2009

Nourrice scored St Michel’s first goal against Euphrasie who was beaten five times

St Michel should never have allowed this match to go into extra-time as they were so dominant in the first half, but wasted too many chances.

The defending champions opened the scoring in the fifth minute as Philip Zialor played a great back-heel to release Francis Nourrice, who beat La Passe’s goalkeeper Vincent Euphrasie for a 1-0 lead.

In the 11th minute, Zialor latched onto a long goal-kick and he had time to adjust his shot but flashed it wide.
La Passe responded in the 19th minute as Achille Henriette produced a curler which goalie Nelson Sopha tipped over.

Four minutes later, St Michel’s Malagasy Pascal broke clear on the left and his teasing cross was just cleared in the nick of time from the lurking Nourrice.

In the 24th minute, La Passe had assistant referee Eldrick Adelaide to thank as he flagged for a non-existent offside against Zialor, who looked odds on to score after receiving a through ball from Malagasy Nestor Benahovy.
Two minutes later, Zialor combined with Pascal to set up Nourrice who shot in the side-netting.

St Michel captain Godfrey Denis could not direct a free header on target from close range from Don Anacoura’s 37th minute free kick.

However, La Passe suddenly came good in the final minutes of the first half.  In the 38th minute, Malagasy Bruno Saindini battled hard to win the ball to feed compatriot Asman Abdou, who looked offside, but assistant referee Walter Spiro failed to raise his flag. Sopha was quick off his line to dive at the Malagasy’s feet to clear the danger.

In the 42nd minute, Abdou linked up with Malagasy captain Eric Rajaobery to flash a cross in the face of goal but Saindini could not head home.

La Passe drew level in the 43rd minute. Achille Henriette played a long pass to Saindini, who found Abdou. As Sopha came out, Abdou hooked the ball over him and Saindini forced it over the goal-line to make it 1-1 at half-time.

La Passe were the better side in the second half and will rue themselves for not winning after a few tactical readjustments.
In the 61st minute, Saindini fought off his marker to fire at Sopha with his weaker right foot, but the St Michel custodian turned the ball round the post.

From the resulting corner, the ball was cleared to Hubert Ernesta, who laid it to Henriette, whose fierce shot was tipped over by Sopha as La Passe laid siege to the St Michel goal.

Henriette floated the corner which fell invitingly to Stephen Gomme but he headed straight into Sopha’s gloves.
In the 63rd minute, Abdou left defender Nigel Freminot in his wake but his centre across goal was hooked to safety.

On the stroke of full-time, La Passe had the chance to win the match as substitute Stephan Morel latched onto a through ball, but instead of crossing to two of his unmarked colleagues, he went for glory and his shot was deflected and Sopha, who had kept his team in the match, still had to make another great save to push the ball into corner.

Henriette floated the corner kick to the unmarked Gomme whose towering header sailed over the cross-bar to send the match into extra-time.

Extra-time

St Michel were the stronger team after having made a couple of substitutions in the second half and they restored their lead in the 93rd minute.

It started from Pascal’s attempted through ball which was intercepted by Ernesta to send it straight to substitute Leeroy Corallie, whose instinctive near post shot wrong-footed Euphrasie to make it 2-1, much to the delight of the St Michel supporters.

Two minutes later (95th), St Michel killed off the contest as Zialor linked up with Nourrice, whose strong cross was spilled by Euphrasie and Pascal was on hand to punish him as he bundled the ball over the line for a 3-1 lead.
In the 102nd minute, Pascal added a fourth after a mêlée from a corner to make it 4-1.

St Michel put the icing on the cake in the second period of extra-time (125th minute) as Nourrice galloped down the right to flash a cross to Corallie who had an easy tap-in for an emphatic 5-1 win.

St Michel manager Brian Uranie was delighted that the substitutions helped improve the team’s overall determination and will to win.

Uranie noted that his team should have scored more goals in the first period but admitted that Sopha was their savior in the second half.

As for La Passe coach Marius Fanchette, he expressed his disappointment as he felt his team should have won the match had they made the most of the numerous chances they had in the second half where they were the better team.

R. J-L.

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