Football: Barclays league division one-St Michelchampions


 St MICHEL …. 2012 Barclays league champions

They achieved this feat with an unbeaten record as they went 18 matches without defeat to hold off the challenge of La Passe and Côte d’Or in this topsy-turvy season where the Seychelles Football Federation cannot even declare who are the runners-up as no final decision has been taken if to deduct points on certain teams after the transfer scandal.

St Michel needed only one point to guarantee their ninth league title and their fourth consecutive crown as La Passe had drawn against St Roch the previous day.

Andy Mougal should have opened the scoring as early as the third minute from Gervais Waye-Hive’s pinpoint cross but LightStars goalkeeper Denis Fideria did well to block his shot.

LightStars were desperate for three points to move off the play-off spot and they were carrying the game to St Michel such as in the seventh minute when Malagasy Haja cut inside a defender to curl a shot which goalkeeper Gino Melanie saved at the second attempt.

St Michel’s Malagasy striker Jean Del’Or Tsaralaza missed a sitter in the 15th minute after he exchanged passes with Nelson Laurence to open up the LightStars defence.

LightStars though suffered a major setback in the 19th minute when goalkeeper Fideria raced off his goal-line to try to stop Del’Or who had sprung the offside trap but he clattered into the striker who went to the ground.

LightStars players knew that Fideria was about to be sent off by referee Emile Fred who had blown for this foul so they tried to plead that the St Michel player was offside.

But referee Fred was having none of it as he issued a straight red to reduce LightStars to 10 men. LightStars’ coach Alison Jean pulled off Ian Vel to bring in reserve goalie Romeo Barra as his side tried to cope with this handicap.
Midway in this half, St Michel took a decisive step to win this match as Nigel Freminot pushed forward to float a cross which sailed over LightStars’ defence to Alex Nibourette whose thunderous shot came off the crossbar.
Waye-Hive picked up the loose ball to bury his shot into the net to make it 1-0.
LightStars though kept pushing forward against a St Michel side who were not their vintage self and in the 36th minute, goalkeeper Melanie had to take emergency measures to turn into corner Andrew Jean’s cross which had deflected off a defender and was heading for goal.

Two minutes later, LightStars’ Kevin Prosper found space on the left as he collected a long ball but St Michel’s Leeroy Mathiot did just enough to stop him from having a clear shot on target.

LightStars should have been rewarded for their good approach play in the 41st minute as Malagasy Sylvain latched onto a defensive error to link up with colleague Haja who raced on goal but in a one-on-one situation he shot straight at goalkeeper Melanie to let St Michel off the hook.

On the stroke of half-time, St Michel’s Nibourette had a great chance when Waye-Hive’s cross-cum-shot fell invitingly to him but with the goal at his mercy he shot across goal from close range.

During half-time, the football federation awarded the player of the month award and it was St Michel’s Malagasy defender Jimmy Radafison who received this accolade from a Barclays Bank representative.

Radafison was to create St Michel’s second goal six minutes into the second period as his powerful forward header was picked up by Del’Or and when goalkeeper Barra slipped as he came off his line, the Malagasy had the simple task of shooting into an empty goal for a 2-0 lead.

In the 54th minute, St Michel stretched their advantage after a brilliant run by in form Dereck Agathine who bore forward to centre to Del’Or who cleverly allowed the ball to run through his legs to captain Don Anacoura who fired into the roof of the net for a 3-0 score.

Del’Or missed a gaping goal in the 56th minute with a point-blank downward header at the back post from Nibourette’s cross as St Michel threatened to blow away LightStars.

LightStars though regained their shape and composure and in the 59th minute Haja threaded a pass to Andy Brioche who was in the clear and was face to face with goalkeeper Melanie but he allowed the St Michel custodian to block his shot.

Ten minutes later, LightStars were awarded a rather soft penalty as referee Emile adjudged that Nelson Laurence had fouled Sylvain as they battled for a high ball and the Malagasy went down in the penalty area.

Andrew Jean was assigned the spot kick and he easily sent goalkeeper Melanie the wrong way for a 1-3 score.

The goal revived St Michel and substitute Leeroy Corallie was guilty of a bad miss in the 75th minute as he latched onto a through ball to round goalkeeper Barra but he shot in the side-netting as Lightstars rode their luck.

Corallie though made amends three minutes later as he capitalised on a poor back pass by Prosper which he intercepted to skip past goalkeeper Barra and slot the ball home to make it 4-1.

In the 84th minute, substitute Wilnes Brutus raced onto captain Anacoura’s through ball to side-foot the advancing Barra for a 5-1 lead.

Two minutes later, Corallie increased his team’s advantage as he chased a threaded pass to elude Barra to shoot home for a 6-1 score.

Del’Or put the icing on the cake with a brilliant individual goal in the 87th minute as he put St Michel in seventh heaven. Del’Or collected a ball in his half and weaved his way past a couple of defenders and showed his pace to out-speed them before slotting the ball past the hapless Barra for a superb strike to make it 7-1 as St Michel celebrated retaining their title.

The St Michel players received their medals from SFF chairman Joel Decommarmond along with main sponsor Barclays bank representative Sushy Ashvin, who also presented the league cup to captain Anacoura to start off wild celebrations in the stands and among the fans.

St Michel’s manager Andrew Jean-Louis told Sports Nation that it was a real achievement to remain unbeaten all season in the league.

“It is a real big achievement to stay unbeaten all season in the league though we have been unable to defend the other two titles which we won last year. Once again we have set the benchmark for other teams to measure themselves against us. We have been most consistent in the league compared to other teams who have reinforced to challenge us. We hope we can maintain this standard and would also like to thank all the players and management for their hard work this season,” said manager Jean-Louis.

La Passe and St Roch draw, Côte D’or and Anse Reunion win

In other matches played this weekend, St Roch put paid to La Passe’s slim chance of title triumph when they shared a 1-1 draw at Stad Linite on Friday, while Côte D’Or and Anse Reunion won their matches.

St Roch maintained their good record over La Passe as they beat them on La Digue in the first round.

La Passe desperately needed all three points in this last match and hoped that LightStars would do them a big favour by at least avoiding defeat against St Michel on Saturday. This would have helped them lift the league title.

La Passe started brightly and opened the scoring in the 34th minute somewhat controversially as Malagasy Fagnorena was clearly offside but assistant referee James Emile failed to raise his flag much to the frustration of the St Roch players and fans.

It all started from La Passe’s Jules Constance’s cross which was met by Fagnorena at the far post to head past goalie Julio Toulon to make it 1-0.

Justice was probably done three minutes later when La Passe defender Malagasy Tholix Jean handled Dan Pharce’s cross for a penalty which referee Bernard Camille duly obliged as he pointed to the spot.

Former Anse Reunion and St Louis Suns midfielder Brian Dorby stepped up to fire past goalkeeper Vincent Euphrasie for a 1-1 score at half-time.

La Passe made a double substitution early in the second half as they brought on two strikers in the shape of Yves Zialor and Renick Esther to bolster their attack but it proved a frustrating second half as St Roch kept them at bay.

At the Amitié Stadium on Saturday, Côte d’Or thrashed relegated Quincy 5-0 on Praslin with a first half hat-trick from Dine Suzette. 

Suzette added a fourth goal in the second half and Melvin Uranie also got on the score-sheet.
On La Digue on Saturday, Anse Reunion beat visitors Northern Dynamo 4-2.

Anse Reunion made a bad start as Pierre Luigi Nibourette was given his marching orders in the second minute by referee Egbert Havelock for handling a goal-bound shot. Northern Dynamo’s Malagasy forward Asman Todisoa scored the resulting penalty to make it 1-0.

Anse Reunion bounced back to level matters through young Nickerro Marie and Yelvanny Rose gave them a 2-1 lead at half-time.

Yelvanny Rose scored again in the second half and an own goal by Garry Roberts gave the La Digue side a 4-1 lead before Elvis Julius cut the deficit for a final 4-2 scoreline as the curtain came down on a season to forget.

Sports Nation would like to congratulate St Michel on their league success.

R. J-L.

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