Football: Barclays league division one-St Francis win seven-goal thriller


Both teams were playing their final league match with St Louis Suns playing only for pride against former coach Marc Mathiot’s team. As for St Francis, they needed the points as they are in a play-off position and were also missing two key players, namely captain Ronny Monthy who was suspended for being harshly dismissed last week against LightStars and Malagasy Malamo Ducaud also suspended.

St Louis Suns tried to pass the ball around while St Francis adopted a more direct approach with their long balls to their speedy forwards.

In the 10th minute, St Louis Suns’ captain Denis Barbé and Malagasy Gilles Rapiera were caught in possession as Malagasy Branli Zizi robbed them of the ball to release his colleague Hery Randriamanana. Hery beat the St Louis Suns offside trap to round goalkeeper Andrew Renaud and slot the ball home for a 1-0 lead.

St Louis Suns responded with a 13th minute free-kick by Fabien Cadeau which crashed in the side-netting.

Three minutes later, St Francis again breached St Louis Suns’ porous defence as Stephane Barallon got the better of Travis Jerome on the bye-line in the 16th minute. Barallon floated a ball which goalkeeper Renaud spilled to Branli Zizi who fed Hery who fired into the net to make it 2-0.

St Louis Suns though reduced the arrears in the 19th minute as Trevor Poiret lofted a free-kick which Nadim Lucas back-heeled and goalkeeper Bertrand Morel failed to hold. Kelly Nibourette punished him as he rifled the ball via the crossbar into the net for a 1-2 score.

Mervyn Mathiot should have levelled the score in the 23rd minute as he latched onto Poiret’s through ball but somehow he missed the target.

The St Louis Suns midfielder though made amends in the 32nd minute as he picked up a glorious pass by captain Barbé, controlled the ball superbly and thumped it past goalkeeper Morel for a 2-2 half-time score.

The second half was also another exciting affair as St Louis Suns took the lead in the 50th minute as Poiret worked hard to link up with Nibourette who eluded his marker before drilling the ball low into the far corner for a 3-2 lead.

St Francis raised the tempo as they threw caution to the win and Ryan Antat went close on a couple of occasions as his team pressured St Louis Suns.

St Louis Suns though had their chances on the counter such as in the 66th minute when Mathiot played a fantastic ball to Cadeau who chest-trapped but failed to hit the target from close range.

St Louis Suns were at times being frustrated by some bizarre offside decisions by assistant referee Gilbert Lusta as St Francis played a high line offside trap.

In the 75th minute, Cadeau threaded a pass to Poiret who beat the St Francis offside trap but in the clear he blazed his shot wide.

Five minutes later, St Louis Suns had an even better opportunity as Cadeau picked out substitute Elijah Tamboo with a pinpoint cross but his diving header flew wide.

St Louis Suns were then punished on the counter as Branli Zizi collected a long ball and played it to Hery whose shot-on-the-turn was handled by St Louis Suns defender Marlon Asba. Referee Gonzague Boniface pointed to the spot for a penalty. Branli Zizi stepped up to riffle the ball far from goalkeeper Renaud’s reach to equalise at 3-3.

St Francis were not finished as they stole all the points in the 89th minute as St Louis Suns failed to clear their lines.

The ball broke to substitute Yannick Confiance whose cross fell to Branli Zizi who laid it into the path of Hery and he blasted it into the roof of the net to make it 4-3 as he completed his hat-trick as the Baie Lazare-based team celebrated going in front.

As St Louis Suns pushed forward to try to salvage a point, Branli Zizi had a very good chance to add to the scoreline as he raced clear to round goalkeeper Renaud but the ball ran out of play and this proved to be the last kick of the game.

St Francis breathed a big sigh of relief as they registered a hard fought win though their worry was an injury to Ryan Antat while St Louis Suns will have only themselves to blame as they threw away a match they should have won.

R. J-L.