Football: Land Marine Cup-The Lions dump LightStars to reach semis


The Lions’ captain Joubert scored his team’s first goal, leading them to the semifinal against St MichelThe Lions drew first blood in this all-first division encounter as Gervais Saminadin floated the ball to Dine Suzette in the sixth minute but he failed to hit the target in a good scoring position.

LightStars responded seconds later as Malagasy Mario Ravo released Andrew Jean who raced on goal but shot wide.

The Cascade-based team opened the scoring in the 22nd minute as Carlos Mondon and Suzette combined superbly before the latter lofted a pass to captain Jones Joubert who headed over goalkeeper Denis Fideria for a 1-0 lead.

Just past the half-hour mark (31st minute) captain Joubert picked out Leeroy Gomme with a free-kick but his header grazed the crossbar.

In the 34th minute, LightStars drew level as Benoit Marie threaded a pass to Malagasy Ravo whose speed helped him hold off some strong challenges to put a superb cross on a plate to Jean who headed home from close range to make it 1-1.
The Lions regained their lead in the 39th minute as referee Jean-Claude Labrosse adjudged that LightStars’ captain Bertrand Esther had handled Gomme’s cross. Gomme stepped up to fire the ball into the roof of the net for a 2-1 half-time advantage.

The Lions still had a slight edge in the second period and in the 58th minute, Gomme’s diving header crashed into the side-netting from Randolph Lablache’s teasing cross.

In the 70th minute, Saminadin did brilliantly as he galloped forward and his inch-perfect cross fell to Suzette who shot wide from two metres out.

LightStars’ Renick Esther brought a decent save from The Lions’ goalkeeper Jerome Dingwall who tipped over his curling shot in the 74th minute.
As the game grew older, The Lions twice were denied by the woodwork, firstly in the 80th minute when Lablache filtered the ball to Suzette whose low shot beat Fideria but came off the foot of the post.

A minute later, Lablache charged into the box and his strong shot ricocheted off the crossbar.

The match could have swayed either way as both teams attacked relentlessly and in the 86th minute, Ravo’s spectacular volley from substitute Kevin Prosper’s cross flew agonisingly wide.

The Lions’ captain Joubert also saw his well-worked 87th minute free-kick crash against the crossbar as LightStars rode their luck.

LightStars could even have sent the match into extra-time as on the stroke of full-time as Fabien Albert centred to Ravo who was bundled over by two Lions defenders for a blatant penalty.

Surprisingly referee Labrosse waved play on, much to the disgust of the LightStars players who vented their anger at the official at the final whistle. Substitute Jude Valentin was even red-carded for dissent as LightStars failed to repeat last year’s feat of reaching the final.

The Lions will now face St Michel next week in the semifinal.

R. J-L.

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