Football: Airtel Cup final-St Michel retain cup in style


05-September-2011

Airtel CEO Tsiresy Randriamampionona (2nd right front row) with the St Michel team

Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister Vincent Meriton was present to see St Michel turn on the style after their below-par performance in their semifinal win over St Louis Suns.

St Michel were quick off the blocks as Nelson Laurence, replacing the injured Henny Dufresne, saw his strong sixth minute shot pushed into corner by goalkeeper Vincent Euphrasie who was captaining his side.

La Passe responded in the 10th minute with a counterattack led by Malagasy Valerie who set up Marcus Labiche but he fired over the crossbar.

St Michel though enjoyed plenty of possession and they duly went ahead in the 26th minute from Francis Nourrice’s corner kick which Malagasy Jimmy Radafison headed home (1-0).Malagasy defender Jimmy scored twice in St Michel’s win

La Passe almost levelled matters three minutes later as Malagasy Hassan Aly played a short corner to Achille Henriette who was playing despite being sick. Henriette’s near post shot was turned into corner.

St Michel extended their advantage in the 34th minute after some good approach play by Allen Larue and Carl Hall who slipped the ball into the path of the overlapping Alex Nibourette who was tripped in full stride by Malagasy Tholix Jean. Referee Gonzague Boniface pointed to the penalty spot and Radafison stepped up to thump the ball into the roof of the net (2-0).

St Michel were cruising and in the 41st minute Don Anacoura picked up a pass from Hall and his curler flew agonisingly wide.

La Passe though were given a lifeline on the stroke of half-time from Valerie’s free-kick which beat the St Michel defensive wall and goalkeeper Gino Melanie failed to hold on to the ball. Malagasy Aly drilled the loose ball over the goal-line to reduce the arrears to 2-1 at half-time.

St Michel brought on Gervais Waye-Hive for Nourrice and he should have scored in the 54th minute from Nibourette’s teasing cross but missed a sitter.

A minute later, St Michel went further ahead from Anacoura’s inviting free kick which Hall headed past goalie Euphrasie for a 3-1 scoreline.

The second half was very entertaining as both teams pushed men forward in attempt to score.
La Passe should have cut the deficit twice in the space of a minute.

In the 56th minute, Verna Rose pumped a long ball forward which dropped to Marcus Labiche but he shot weakly at goalie Melanie.

Seconds later, Malagasy Aly produced a superb cross but his colleague Valerie’s diving header flew over the cross bar when he should have hit the target.

In the 62nd minute, St Michel’s Waye-Hive’s well worked free-kick was spilled by Euphrasie but was relieved when the lurking Wilnes Brutus was flagged offside.

Six minutes later, Brutus was again left frustrated after he latched onto Anacoura’s filtered pass to out-speed the La Passe defence but his lob crashed against the crossbar before the danger was cleared.

La Passe made a double substitution seconds later as Malagasy player/coach Bruno Saindini and Garry Radegonde came on for the disappointing Labiche and Aly.

However, they could not do much as St Michel stretched their lead a minute later (70th minute) after Euphrasie chased a deep cross by Nibourette. Brutus pounced on the loose ball and with Euphrasie caught in no man’s land, he rolled it to Nelson Laurence whose instinctive cross was met by Hall’s glancing header which flew into an empty net for a 4-1 score.
In the 73rd minute, Anacoura filtered a pass to Waye-Hive who slipped past a defender but his shot sailed wide as La Passe rode their luck.

La Passe scored a second goal in the 88th minute as Saindini was given space to rifle a right foot shot which hit the post and the rebound fell to Malagasy Valerie who tapped it past Melanie for a 4-2 scoreline.

St Michel though had done enough to claim their fourth consecutive Airtel Cup which delighted manager Andrew Jean-Louis.

“It was a sweet victory as we put in a convincing performance and played with purpose. This is why we are deserved winners today (Saturday),” said manager Jean-Louis.

As for La Passe’s player/coach Saindini, he told Sports Nation his players paid too much respect for St Michel and failed to show their true form.

The cups and medals were presented to the two teams by Minister Meriton, Airtel chief executive Tsiresy Randriamampionona and Seychelles Football Federation vice-chairman Roch Henriette.

R. J-L.

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