Football: Barclays league division one-St Roch and Côte d’Or win, St Michel and St Louis Suns draw, La Passe held to a draw at home


After The Lions had edged Anse Reunion in the league opener on Thursday, veteran Alpha Baldé made another return from retirement to bag a hat-trick on Friday in his new team Roch’s 4-3 victory against LightStars. On Saturday, Praslin-based Côte d’Or earned a 1-0 home win against St Francis and La Passe had to come from behind to earn a point in a 1-1 draw against visitors Northern Dynamo.

St Louis Suns v St Michel
This explosive early fixture between St Louis Suns and St Michel was always going to draw a big crowd.
St Louis Suns, after recruiting heavily in the offseason, were eager for a bright start against their bitter rivals who had already had three tough matches under their belt.
In the eighth minute, Trevor Poiret’s floated corner kick was met by captain Mervin Mathiot with a header but goalkeeper Nelson Sopha did enough to block his effort.

St Michel hit back five minutes later as Malagasy Jean Del’Or Tsaralaza made the most of a poor clearance by former Northern Dynamo defender Steve Henriette to bore on goal before pulling the ball into the path of Leeroy Corallie who surprisingly rifled his shot over the crossbar when it looked easier to score.

Malagasy Clariel (number 19) scored on his debut for St Louis Suns in a 1-1 draw with St Michel

This evenly fought first half took a decisive twist in the 26th minute as St Louis Suns played some neat short passes involving Fabien Cadeau and skipper Mathiot. Mathiot filtered a pass to Trevor Poiret who just dropped back from an apparent offside position and was surprisingly not signaled by assistant referee Steve Marie. Poiret made the most of his advantage to centre to the unmarked Malagasy Clariel Rakotondramina who could not believe his good fortune as he drilled the ball home to make it 1-0 much to the joy of his supporters as he opened his account on his debut.

Surprisingly, St Louis Suns decided to fall back and defend as they allowed St Michel to apply the pressure on them in the remaining minutes of the first half.

St Michel almost scored in the 42nd minute after Hassan Ally broke clear to pick out Corallie but his shot was deflected into corner.
A minute later, Gervais Waye-Hive kept his calm to cross to Del’Or but he failed to hit the target with a towering header.

The second half saw a complete domination by St Michel as they kept sending long balls in the penalty area hoping for a breakthrough by Del’Or.
In fact, Nibourette tested goalkeeper Elvis Leopold with a raking 46th minute low free-kick which he failed to hold. Del’Or pounced on the loose ball but Nigel Freminot cleared the danger.
In the 48th minute, Ally played a curling corner which appeared to be dipping under the crossbar before it was pushed out by goalkeeper Leopold.

St Michel enjoyed plenty of possession as St Louis Suns were just happy to clear the ball forward and in the 61st minute Jimmy Radafison met Ally’s corner with a strong header but goalkeeper Leopold saved the danger.

Two minutes later, Del’Or somehow missed the target with a diving header from an inch-perfect cross by Gervais Waye-Hive.
St Michel got a vital breakthrough in the 65th minute after a defensive blunder by Cadeau and Henriette who jumped for the same ball which they both missed and it rolled to substitute Nelson Laurence. Laurence volleyed home with his first touch to equalise for St Michel as his supporters breathed a sigh of relief at 1-1 and feeling more confident that they would now go to win the match.

St Louis Suns pulled off both Poiret and captain Mathiot as they tried to defend their point. As for St Michel, they huffed and puffed as they searched for a winner but was badly affected after Leeroy Mathiot – their third substitute – limped off with an ankle injury.  They had to plod on with 10 players and still looked dangerous as Del’Or almost gave them the lead with a glancing header in the 80th minute.

In the 87th minute, Radafison played a hopeful ball into the box which Del’Or met with a downward header which goalkeeper Leopold just managed to push into corner as the two teams had to settle for a draw.

St Michel manager Andrew Jean-Louis told Sports Nation he was pleased with the point.
Manager Jean-Louis said that his team were far the better side in the second period but injury late in the match had an effect on their play.

La Passe v Northern Dynamo

La Digue-based La Passe just managed to salvage a 1-1 draw at home against Northern Dynamo on Saturday.

Northern Dynamo struck early in the second half through Steven Télémaque with a sumptuous free-kick that beat goalkeeper Vincent Euphrasie as he made a triumphant return to this old club.

However, Senky Vidot scored the equaliser with an equally fine strike late in the match to make it 1-1 as the two teams shared the spoils.

Côte d’Or v St Francis

Côte d’Or scored a last-gasp winner to claim all the points against St Francis on Saturday at the Amitié Stadium on Praslin on Saturday.
Collin Esther took a penalty in the dying minutes which young goalkeeper Ian Ah-Kong pushed out. But Collin Esther got a second bite of the cherry as he pounced on the loose ball to score the only goal of the match for a 1-0 victory.

St Roch v LightStars

Alpha Baldé returned to playing after almost an 18-month break to score a hat-trick and BALDE … scorer of the new season’s first hat-trickinspire St Roch to a 4-3 victory over Praslin side LightStars at Stad Linite on Friday.
With some niggling injuries, Baldé had hanged up his boots after helping the Seychelles national team win the gold medal at the Indian Ocean Island Games in 2011.
But at the age of 40, Baldé was convinced to return and on Friday he opened the scoring in the 26th minute after he picked up a ball on the edge of the penalty area to shoot past goalkeeper Basil Esther for a 1-0 score.

However, Bertrand Lablache replied for LightStars in the 38th minute as he rifled past goalkeeper Julio Toulon for a 1-1 half-time score.
The second half was a more exciting affair and Baldé gave his team the lead in the opening minute (46th) as he was set up by Roy Julie who had chased a long goal-kick. Baldé blasted the ball past goalkeeper Esther to make it 2-1.

St Roch stretched their lead in the 50th minute as Malvin Pierre surged forward on the right and his dipping shot sailed over goalkeeper Esther for a 3-1 scoreline.

Down but not out, LightStars fought back and in the 56th minute Andrew Jean let fly a cracking shot from the edge of the penalty area and the ball crashed against the crossbar.
LightStars continued to press forward and in the 62nd minute Malagasy Mario Ravo cut a pass to colleague Haja whose goal-bound shot was somehow deflected into corner.

Both Ravo and Lablache missed clear chances to reduce the arrears before they made amends firstly through the diminutive Malagasy in the 69th minute. Ravo latched onto Klenny Jessy’s through ball to slot it past goalkeeper Toulon for a 3-2 score.

In the 74th minute, LightStars drew level as Lablache showed a burst of speed in the penalty box and Leeroy Gomme brought him down. Referee Gonzague Boniface did not hesitate to point to the penalty spot.

Lablache picked himself up to send goalkeeper Toulon the wrong way for a 3-3 scoreline.
LightStars looked the likely side to win and in the 76th minute Haja burst through to fire at goalkeeper Toulon who blocked the shot which fell to Bertrand Marie whose shot was again charged down by an alert Toulon.

In the 79th minute, St Roch were also awarded a penalty as Baldé released Gomme who was brought down by Michel Oreddy to redeem himself after giving away a penalty of his own earlier.
The official pointed to the penalty spot once again. Baldé was assigned the task and he did not disappoint as he shot low to complete his hat-trick and restore St Roch’s 4-3 lead.

LightStars though were hard done by referee Boniface in the 85th minute as Ravo was clearly fouled by Malvin Pierre for a blatant penalty. But the official signaled play on and even booked the Malagasy striker for diving which was rather harsh.

Three minutes into added time, LightStars were again furious with the official when Andrew Jean’s free-kick was volleyed goalwards by Ravo but the ball came off Nerick Athanase’s raised hands for a clear penalty. But to the disgust of the Praslin side the official turned a blind eye.

Malagasy coach Alison Jean did not want to discuss the officiating issues after the match as he said his team will just have to accept the decisions.
But coach Jean added that there is still a lot of work to be done especially with their new recruits from the second division.

R. J-L.

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