Football: Airtel Cup-St Roch share the spoils with St Michel


There was a minute silence before the match in memory of a faithful St Michel supporter who passed away last week. The St Michel players sported black armbands in respect of the deceased.

The onus was on St Michel who had lost their last match and had to bounce back to satisfy their fans.

However, St Roch who were on a high after defeating The Lions in their last match, shocked them as early as the fifth minute as Dan Pharce centred to Gerick Vidot who nudged in front of St Michel’s debutant defender Neil Suzette to drill the ball past goalie Gino Melanie for a 1-0 lead.

St Michel, who had reshuffled their defence after their loss to Côte d’Or in the Barclays league division one, should have leveled the score in the eighth minute from Patrick Bonne’s cross to Malagasy Hassan Aly whose shot was charged down by a defender. The loose ball fell to Nelson Laurence but St Roch goalkeeper Randolph Bijoux made a good finger-tip save to deny him.

Three minutes later, Joel Barbé played a glorious pass into the path of Aly but he fired wide from a good scoring position.

Jean-delor scorer of St Michel first goalSt Michel enjoyed plenty of possession as they applied the pressure on St Roch but they were too wayward in front of goal.

In the 14th minute, St Michel produced a good move involving Darwin Rosette who centred to Malagasy Jean Del’Or Tsaralaza but he hurried his header when he had all the time to pick his spot in the net.

A minute later, Nelson Laurence shot straight at goalkeeper Bijoux after Del’Or had pounced on a defensive error to set him up.

St Michel were all over St Roch but goalkeeper Bijoux stood defiant to keep their opponents at bay.

St Roch had a great chance to stretch their lead in the 44th minute as Brian Dorby lofted a short corner to Marcus Emilien, who failed to direct a free header on target.

St Michel countered swiftly as Del’Or rode a couple of tackles on the bye-line as he raced clear to cut inside his defender.  Del’Or’s cross was deflected by former St Michel defender and St Roch captain Nestor Benahovy past goalkeeper Bijoux for a 1-1 score at half-time.

St Michel made a double substitution after the break as Henny Dufresne and Alex Nibourette came on for Suzette and Barbé as they reverted to a three-man defence.

St Roch though almost stunned them again in the 50th minute from Malvin Pierre’s cross-cum-shot which crashed onto the crossbar and dropped to Leeroy Gomme whose shot was blocked by goalkeeper Melanie.

St Michel still were the better side as they pushed for a winner and in the 58th minute Malagasy Aly released Laurence who looked odds on to score but he was too casual and goalkeeper Bijoux blocked his shot.

St Michel huffed and puffed but their final ball left a lot to be desired.

The Barclays league division one champions did have a decent chance in the 72nd minute after some good approach work by Del’Or to lay off the ball to substitute Dufresne but he shot wide.

A minute later, St Michel went ahead as Bonne did well on the right to cross to substitute Nibourette who fired with his weaker right foot and the ball was deflected past goalkeeper Bijoux to make it 2-1.

In the 74th minute, St Michel should have added a third as Dufresne created space for Rosette but his shot was stopped by goalkeeper Bijoux’s outstretched legs.

St Roch also went close in the 81st minute as Malvin Pierre bore forward to collect Dan Pharce’s lay-off and his thumping shot forced goalkeeper Melanie to tip over.

The boys of coach Kenny Dubignon leveled matters in the 85th minute with a cracking goal. It all started from Gomme’s free-kick which St Michel’s Julio Denousse cleared as far as substitute Roy Julie whose instinctive drive crashed low into the net for a fantastic strike to make the final score 2-2.

R. J-L.

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