Football: Land Marine Cup final-St Michel conquer La Passe for clean sweep


07-November-2011

   Minister Meriton, Messrs Patel and Prea hand over the La Marine Cup to St Michel’s captain Nigel Freminot

St Michel had already claimed the President’s Cup, the Barclays league division title and the Airtel Cup, and on Saturday they triumphed again to repeat their achievement of 2008.

Surprisingly, St Michel did not make the best of starts as they had to play Gervais Waye-Hive in a more central role and Godfrey Denis in defence to replace Karl Hall who is overseas, and the suspended Allen Larue.

In the second minute of play, La Passe had a decent chance as Marcus Labiche chased a through ball and his left foot shot was parried by goalkeeper Nelson Sopha.

Five minutes later, there was a half-hearted appeal by La Passe players as Labiche went down in the penalty area. They claimed he had been pushed by Malagasy Jimmy Radafison but referee Bernard Camille was not convinced.

St Michel were under a slight pressure and in the 17th minute, Labiche again should have done better with a superb cross by Geal Jessinghaus but he miscued his header.

St Michel’s first real attack in the 24th minute resulted in a goal though it was rather controversial as assistant referee Jean Ernesta raised his flag for an infringement against St Michel’s Corallie as the ball was played into the La Passe penalty area. It all started when Alex Nibourette sent in a cross to Wilnes Brutus whose header came off the foot of the post. Corallie was either offside or had handled the ball leading assistant referee Ernesta to raise his flag, but he lowered it instantly as the ball went in for a 1-0 score as the La Passe camp protested.

Despite their lead, St Michel struggled to contain La Passe and in the 39th minute, Labiche got the better of St Michel’s captain Nigel Freminot to set up Achille Henriette but Freminot recovered in time to clear the danger.

In the 42nd minute, St Michel’s Henny Dufresne picked up a half-cleared corner on the edge of the penalty area but his fierce drive sailed inches over the cross bar.

La Passe though continued to threaten and in the 44th minute, Labiche centred to Yelvanny Rose whose glancing header produced a brilliant flying save out of Sopha.

St Michel stretched their lead on the stroke of half-time from some fantastic play by Nibourette who weaved his way into the La Passe defence to exchange passes with Brutus before flashing a cross and Corallie slid in at the far post to score his brace and make it 2-0 at the break.

La Passe brought on Malagasy Bruno Saindina in the second half to try to redress the balance though they surprisingly continued to play Malagasy Valerie at left back when he is normally very effective in attack.

St Michel also pulled off Waye-Hive replacing him with Nelson Laurence who had arrived late for the match due to family commitment.

Saindini showed his worth in the 64th minute as he fired a thumping free kick from 35 metres out which Sopha spilled and Labiche latched onto the loose ball to rifle in at the far post to make it 2-1.

It was game on as La Passe pushed men forward but in the 66th minute, St Michel countered as Laurence released Corallie but he shot wide in a good scoring position.

La Passe continued to press for an equaliser and in the 83rd minute Henriette floated a free-kick which Labiche headed wide.
In the 87the minute, the irrepressible Henriette curled in a wicked corner which was heading for the top corner but somehow Sopha scooped the ball away from danger.

Two minutes later La Passe were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area as Godfrey Denis had pushed Labiche. Henriette took the kick and his curling shot was heading for goal but it just clipped a defender’s foot to roll into corner as the St Michel supporters breathed a big sigh of relief.

St Michel were to score a third goal deep in injury time as Malagasy Tholix Jean gave the ball away to Brutus who fed Laurence and he drew goalkeeper Vincent Euphrasie before shooting low into the net for a final 3-1 scoreline to spark celebration from the St Michel supporters in a Stad Linite which saw a surprisingly small crowd for this final.

Cups and medals were presented to the two teams by Land Marine representative Dave Prea, SFF chairman Suketu Patel and minister Vincent Meriton.

St Michel’s coach Vivian Bothe told Sports Nation he was happy with his achievement.

“I am very proud of my achievement to win all cups available this season but this has been possible due to the support of everyone such as the managers, players and many more people whom I would like to thank for their support,” coach Bothe said.

He added that he knew the team’s objective was to win silverware when he took over and was pleased he had delivered.

As for La Passe’s coach Marius Fanchette, he was not happy with the official who allowed the first goal to stand.

“I am disappointed with the officials as the first St Michel goal should not have been allowed and this affected our team as we played well today and did not let St Michel dominate us,” revealed coach Fanchette, who also noted it was their fourth final where they had come out second best.

However, some of the La Passe players and officials had to head back to Mahe after trying to return to La Digue after the match.  The journey was cut short due to bad weather as visibility was very poor.

As for St Michel, they celebrated another wonderful landmark in their history and Sports Nation would like to congratulate them on their triumph.

St Michel players celebrate winning the Land Marine Cup and completing a second clean sweep of honours

R. J-L.

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