Football: Airtel Cup -Côte d’Or held, La Passe, St Louis Suns and St Roch win


At Stad Linite on Mahe, St Louis Suns edged St Francis 1-0 and on Friday St Roch rattled The Lions 3-1.

St Louis Suns v St Francis
This encounter was always going to be a fiercely contested affair with St Francis coach Marc Mathiot facing his former team.

Steve Henriette scored St Louis Suns’ goal against St FrancisSt Francis surely were the better side and should have taken the lead in the 15th minute as Stephen Leon pounced on Steve Henriette’s mistake to set up Malagasy Branly Zizi but he allowed goalkeeper Joel Lesperance to dive at his feet.

St Louis Suns responded in the 22nd minute from Denis Barbé’s free kick but Malagasy striker Clariel headed wide from an unmarked position.

In the 37th minute, St Louis Suns’ right-back Jean-Paul Aglaé went on a foray forward as he rode a couple of tackles before shooting at goalkeeper Ian Ah-Kong who parried his shot.

St Francis though were still more dangerous and in the 42nd minute Malagasy Hery Niana burst through and tried to lob goalkeeper Lesperance who reacted quickly to block his shot as the baldhead Malagasy went down in the box in search of a penalty but referee Gonzague Boniface was having none of this theatricals.

St Francis went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock in the first minute of the second half as Stephane Esparon picked out Branly Zizi with his cross and the Malagasy striker’s left foot volley crashed against the post with the St Louis Suns defence static.

The boys of coach Mathiot continued to put St Louis Suns under pressure and in the 70th minute Malagasy Hery played a through-ball to his colleague Branly Zizi who left two defenders in his wake and placed the ball low but goalkeeper Lesperance produced a magnificent one-handed block to push the ball into corner for a top-drawer save.

St Louis Suns had a rare chance in the 78th minute as Clariel chased a long ball but went down under a minimal tackle as he was looking for a non-existent penalty to sum up a disappointing afternoon for the St Louis Suns striker.

As for St Francis they had another great opportunity in the 84th minute from substitute Alexander Albert’s crossfield pass which sailed over defender Steven Constance and dropped invitingly to Branly Zizi who controlled the ball brilliantly in acres of space. However, Branly Zizi blasted the ball over the crossbar much to the disappointment of his bench.

A minute later, St Louis Suns made them pay as Steve Henriette, who had moved into midfield, headed home Kelly Nibourette’s corner helped by a blunder by goalkeeper Ah-Kong who had raced out to punch the ball but he had missed and was punished as the central Mahe team made it 1-0 to collect all three points in a match where they had been second best for long spells.

LightStars vs La Passe

La Passe players celebrate their win
La Passe won comfortably at the Amitié Stadium on Praslin on Saturday as they brushed aside LightStars 4-2.

Former La Passe midfielder Andrew Jean had given the Praslin outfit the lead early in the first half. However, La Passe’s Malagasy midfielder Valerie equalised at 1-1 minutes later and his colleague Fagnorena gave the La Digue side a 2-1 lead at the break.

Fagnorena got his name again on the score-sheet in the second half for a 3-1 advantage but LightStars’ Malagasy Haja reduced the arrears at 2-3 while La Passe were under intense pressure.
La Passe’s captain Achille Henriette re-established his team’s two-goal cushion (4-2) but his teammate Jean-Paul Adela was given his marching orders by referee Alistair Barra for his second bookable offence as he conceded a penalty.

Bertrand Lablache though failed to convert the spot kick which was kept out by goalkeeper Vincent Euphrasie as La Passe registered a good start in group B.

Côte d’Or held by Anse Reunion

Defending Airtel Cup champions Côte d’Or dropped points as they were held to a 1-1 draw on La Digue against Anse Reunion on Saturday.

Côte d’Or had recorded an important victory last Wednesday in the Barclays league division one as they sunk league champions St Michel to move to the top of the table at the half-way stage.

The boys of coach Ahmed Abdou had a good opportunity to take the lead early in this match as they were awarded a penalty by referee Emile Fred as Anse Reunion defender Samuel Amice brought down Dine Suzette. Malagasy footballer of the year Jean Tigana was given this responsibility as he had done so successfully against St Michel in midweek but Anse Reunion goalkeeper Jean-Paul Ah-Kong stood tall to block Tigana’s spot kick in a goalless first half.

Anse Reunion took the lead in the 46th minute from Norvil Gaspard’s inch-perfect cross to Julius Adrienne who headed past goalkeeper Kitson Cecile for a 1-0 lead.

Côte d’Or’s Renick Esther though scored midway in this half to make it 1-1 to save his team from defeat as they had to be content with a share of the spoils.

St Roch rip out Lions’ heart

St Roch ripped the heart out of The Lions in the first Airtel group B match as the north Mahe side comfortably won 3-1 at Stad Linite on Friday.

Ironically, The Lions had got off to the best possible start as they opened the scoring with just 55 seconds in the first half as Darren Payet fired past goalkeeper Randolph Bijoux for a 1-0 lead.
However, St Roch regrouped as they went on to dominate this match against a surprisingly subdued The Lions side.

Ten minutes in this half, St Roch pounced on a defensive mistake by The Lions defence as the impressive Leeroy Gomme set up Malagasy captain Nestor Benahovy whose long range effort sailed agonisingly wide.

Three minutes later at the other end, The Lions’ Denis Auguste collected a loose ball to rifle a fierce shot which flew just over the crossbar.

St Roch duly leveled matters in the 24th minute as Malvin Pierre made the most of a mistake by The Lions captain Ahmed Maurice who tripped him for a clear penalty and referee Bernard Camille pointed to the spot after assistant referee Hansley Petrousse had signaled for the infringement.

Gerick Vidot was given the responsibility and he fired past The Lions’ reserve goalkeeper Raphael Moustache to make it 1-1.

The goal spurred St Roch on and in the 35th minute, Gomme sent an inch-perfect cross to Malvin Pierre who controlled well and his shot on the turn was deflected into corner.

The Lions though almost regained the lead against the run of play in the 37th minute as Randolph Lablache released Auguste who fed Dave Max who beat the offside trap but he inexplicably shot wide when he should have hit the target.

The Lions came back after the break with a bit more determination and in the 53rd minute captain Maurice latched onto a ball over the St Roch defence and he looked offside which was not signalled but failed to hit the target.

In the 66th minute, The Lions again threatened as Gavin Moustache bore forward and St Roch’s Keddy Porice failed to clear the danger.  The loose ball fell to Denis Auguste but he miscued his shot with the goal at his mercy.

A minute later at the other end, St Roch went ahead from Gomme’s lofted corner kick which was met by Malvin Pierre’s towering header which flew into the corner of the net for a 2-1 score.
The Lions had to throw caution to the wind as St Roch dropped into defence to consolidate their lead.

The Lions’ best chance to snatch a point came in the 88th minute as Darrel Lesperance collected a through pass but St Roch’s substitute Brian Dorby’s last-ditch tackle denied the midfielder a gilt-edge opportunity.

To add insult to injury, St Roch sealed The Lions’ fate with a third goal in the 94th minute from a long ball from goalkeeper Bijoux. Vidot and substitute Roy Julie combined to open up The Lions’ defence. Vidot squared the ball to Julie who drilled it home for a 3-1 final score.

R. J-L.