Football: Land Marine Cup-St Francis dump Northern Dynamo in five-goal thriller


This all-first division clash was action-packed from the kick-off as St Francis’ Branli Zizi Ratovonirina burst through in the first minute but he shot weakly at goalkeeper Jules Monnaie.

Northern Dynamo though opened the scoring in the fourth minute from Daniel Maillet’s corner which was met by Malagasy Asman Todisoa’s downward header which beat goalkeeper Bertrand Morel for a 1-0 lead.

Two minutes later, St Francis should have drawn level from Rondy Onezime’s long cross which was not cleared by the Dynamo defence and dropped invitingly to Roddy Monthy who miscued his header with the goal begging. The ball flew to Branli Zizi whose header was blocked by goalkeeper Monnaie.

Dynamo though gave away a clumsy penalty in the 17th minute as Steven Côme clattered into Malagasy Henry Randriamanana from behind and referee Gonzague Boniface pointed to the spot for a penalty. Branli Zizi took the spot kick and placed the ball into the roof of the net to level matters at 1-1.

Dynamo were hard done by the official in the 25th minute as Todisoa was brought down by St Francis’ captain Ronny Monthy in the penalty box, but referee Boniface blew for a foul and pointed on the edge of the box as Todisoa looked hurt as he limped around as a result of the crude tackle.

On the half hour mark, Todisoa took justice into his own hands after some brilliant work by Francis Moumou who had skipped past a defender to slip a pass to the Malagasy striker who blasted the ball into the roof of the net to restore Dynamo’s lead at 2-1.

Sadly for Todisoa, he had to be substituted with a leg injury and was replaced by Kieren Sinon.
St Francis made some tactical changes, pulling off Nicolas Atala and Roddy Monthy and sent on Radley Monthy and Stephane Esparon as they played with three at the back.

Radley Monthy proved an inspired substitution as he dictated play and forced a finger-tip save out of goalie Monnaie in the 48th minute with a curling corner kick.

St Francis almost scored a controversial goal in the 64th minute as Branli Zizi robbed Moumou of the ball and raced to the bye-line where the ball rolled out of play but assistant referee James Emile failed to signal allowing the lanky Malagasy striker to cut back to colleague Randriamanana who blazed over from five metres out with the goal gaping.

St Francis’ enterprise paid dividends in the 72nd minute as Radley Monthy picked himself up after being fouled by Collin Tirant to curl a superb 30m free-kick which goalie Monnaie could not keep out to make it 2-2.

St Francis looked the likely winners of this match from then on as Dynamo struggled to get a rhythm as Marcus Maria was isolated in attack.

In the 77th minute, Radley Monthy filtered a pass to Branli Zizi who bore on goal but a great recovery tackle by Côme stopped the Malagasy forward from giving his team the lead.

The boys of coach Marc Mathiot was not to be denied victory as they scored in the 83rd minute as that man, Radley Monthy, played a quick free-kick to Stephane Esparon who centred to Branli Zizi and he wriggled his way inside a packed defence to toe-poke the ball low past goalie Monnaie to give his team the advantage at 3-2. They will now meet second divisioners The Lions in the quarter final.

Coach Mathiot was very pleased with his team’s fighting spirit which has not been evident all the time this season. 

“I am very happy with my players’ determination especially in the second half and this is a very good result for us,” coach Mathiot told Sports Nation.

R. J-L.

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