Football: Airtel Cup-St Louis Suns gift La Passe victory, St Michel draw


29-August-2011

Dynamo blow qualification chances

Northern Dynamo blew their qualification chances on Friday evening at Stad Linite as they could only manage a 1-1 draw against St Francis.

Dynamo though started brightly as they took the lead in the 15th minute as Malagasy Asman Todisoa converted Marcus Maria’s cross to give his team a 1-0 advantage.

The goal shocked St Francis as they began to dominate the match and they should have levelled matters in the 28th minute after some good work by Stephane Barallon who glided past a couple of defenders to lay the ball on a plate to Trevor Vidot. However, the former St Michel striker’s point blank range shot produced a world-class save from goalkeeper Jules Monnaie.

Vidot was guilty of another bad miss in the 31st minute as Yves Zialor put in a decent cross after some good approach play by St Francis.

St Francis continued to trouble Dynamo and in the 38th minute, Malagasy Rajoniana Rakotomanga created space to centre to Vidot who cleverly allowed the ball to roll to Stephane Barallon who looked odds on to score but his fierce shot came off the foot of the post as Dynamo continued to ride their luck.

St Francis levelled the score at 1-1 in comical fashion in the 53rd minute from captain Rondy Onezime’s long free-kick which Monnaie completely misjudged. The ball bounced in front of Monnaie and sailed over him and into the net despite him getting the slightest of touch.

It was a very costly mistake by goalie Monnaie who had looked impressive before this kamikaze incident, turning him from hero to villain.

St Francis nearly went ahead just past the hour mark as Vidot’s shot was spilled by Monnaie and in the impending mêlée the ball fell to Harry Libanotis whose strong drive was not held properly by the Dynamo goalkeeper, but his defenders bailed him out as they cleared the danger.

In the 63rd minute, Dynamo went close to regaining the lead in a counter-attack led by Todisoa who lobbed St Francis’ goalkeeper Andrea Libanotis but Ronny Monthy tidied up the mess by thumping the ball forward.

St Francis had another decent chance in the 77th minute as Zialor released Vidot but he failed to hit the target.

Both teams had opportunities to win the match. In the 84th minute, Maria and Todisoa combined to open up the St Francis defence but the Malagasy’s shot was well stopped by Libanotis.

Three minutes later, St Francis’ substitute Radley Monthy curled in a corner kick which grazed the post as the two teams settled for a share of the spoils.

 Côte d’Or hold St Michel

Praslin side Côte d’Or had to win this match to progress to the semifinal stage as well as avenge their heavy first-round loss to these same opponents.

St Michel had ironically done them a favour on Thursday by defeating LightStars who were also vying for second position in pool B.

However, St Michel started strongly on Saturday and went ahead in the first half as Francis Nourrice gave them a 1-0 lead.

Côte d’Or fought back in the second half and Hubert Ernesta levelled matters at 1-1 but they failed to score that elusive second goal which would have given them victory and a place in the semis.

LighStars have thus finished ahead of Côte d’Or with 11 points. Côte d’Or have 10.

La Passe edge St Louis Suns

These two teams had already qualified in pool A but they were only playing for pride, especially the Victoria-based team who gained passage to the knockout phase merely on goal difference after they finished tied on 13 points with Northern Dynamo.

Action from Saturday’s St Louis Suns/La Passe match

La Passe though threatened early on and in the sixth minute, Garry Radegonde played a long ball to Collin Bibi who looked odds on to score but Nadim Lucas’ last-ditch tackle saved the day for St Louis Suns.

Two minutes later, La Passe duly went ahead as Marcus Labiche picked out Radegonde with a deep cross and the unmarked defender headed past goalie Joel Lesperance for a 1-0 lead.

The goal shook St Louis Suns out of their lethargy and in the 10th minute they almost equalised from Daniel Maillet’s cross-field pass to Fabien Cadeau. However, young La Passe goalkeeper Ian Ah-Kong was quick off his line to block Cadeau’s shot with a brilliant stop.

St Louis Suns began to dominate possession but at times were too elaborate in their passing and in the 32nd minute it almost cost them a second goal as they gave the ball away to Malagasy Hassan Aly who fired at Lesperance and he did well to stop the low shot.

In the 35th minute, it was Malagasy defender Tholix Jean who lost possession from Ryan Antat who fed captain Trevor Poiret whose strong shot was parried by Ah-Kong who then produced a superb block on Cadeau to deny St Louis Suns the equaliser.

St Louis Suns’ endeavour though paid dividends on the hour mark as Antat latched onto a through ball to blast an unstoppable fierce shot which rattled the upright and crossed the goal-line to make it 1-1.

La Passe sensed that they could lose their unbeaten run and so they raised their game as both teams went all out for victory.

In the 64th minute, Malagasy Aly set up colleague Valery but Lesperance was equal to the task to stop the Malagasy in his stride.

In the 68th minute, St Louis Suns’ Maillet and Jean-Paul Aglaé played a short corner and the latter lofted the ball to Antat who could not direct his free header on target.

St Louis Suns rode their luck on a few occasions as assistant referee Walter Underwood failed to signal for some clear offside positions such as in the 72nd minute when La Passe’s Labiche met Radegonde’s cross miles offside but the Airtel Cup top scorer headed over the cross bar.

St Louis Suns gifted La Passe a goal in the 78th minute. Defender Damien Maria and Lesperance got into each other’s way from Aly’s cross, allowing the lurking Valery to shoot the ball into an empty net for a 2-1 advantage.

In the 81st minute, La Passe almost extended their lead as Labiche curled in a beauty which crashed against the post and fell to Valery who failed to hook the rebound into goal.

St Louis Suns also had two great opportunities to avoid defeat. In the 84th minute, captain Poiret and Yannick Charlette exchanged passes to open La Passe’s defence but the former shot wide from close range.

Four minutes later, substitute James Bill released Kelly Nibourette who was in a good scoring position, but he made a meal of his shot.

La Passe’s victory ensured that they have collected maximum points in pool A and will now face LightStars on Praslin tomorrow in the first semifinal while on the same day on Mahe, St Louis Suns will meet old rivals St Michel in a mouth-watering encounter.

R. J-L.

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