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Football: SeyPearl Premier League | 09 November 2019

Foresters shrug off St Michel’s challenge

 

Mont Fleuri-based Foresters shrugged off the challenge of St Michel courtesy of a brace by Nigerian striker Kazeem Adeyeri to help his team to a 2-1 victory at Stad Linite in a highly entertaining and incident-packed SeyPearl Premier League match on Thursday afternoon.

Foresters put their unbeaten run on the line against joint league leaders St Michel as they carried this game to their opponents and had a decent chance in the 2nd minute from Malagasy Jean Tigana’s short corner to Ryan Henriette before he floated the ball to Warren Mellie at the far post but the tall defender could not direct his header on target.

Six minutes later, Tigana tested St Michel goalkeeper Alvin Michel who was back in the starting line-up, with an inswinging free kick which he had to tip over and from the resulting corner from the same Tigana, Vanerick Michel headed the ball into the net but it was ruled out for offside by assistant referee Hensley Petrousse.

Foresters then took the lead in the 15th minute from captain Leonard Besabotsy’s long ball which defender Yannick Manou and Travis Quatre deflected into the path of Adeyeri who conjured a sweetly struck volley past goalkeeper Michel for a 1-0 lead.

St Michel should have levelled matters in the 28th minute when Malagasy Francis linked up with Norris Bibi but the St Michel striker saw his shot charged down by a retreating Kenner Nourrice as the goal drought continues for the forward once described as a ‘goal machine’ when he arrived in the country.

The second half was very intriguing and St Michel had a gilt-edge opportunity in the 52nd minute when Malagasy Hassan Aly spread the ball to Bibi who surged into the Foresters penalty area and his shot was parried by goalkeeper Kitson Cecile as far as Francis but he could not force the loose ball on target as he was crowded out.

Foresters doubled their lead in the 66th minute in a highly controversial manner when St Michel were a man short as Manou was injured and was about to be replaced by Julio Brown but the fourth official Egbert Havelock was slow to make the substitution.

The goal started off from a St Michel attack that was broken down by Tigana who carried the ball forward before his perfectly weighted pass was latched onto by Adeyeri who showed his class to elude defender Nigel Hoareau and tuck the ball past goalkeeper Michel to make it 2-0.

As Foresters celebrated, the St Michel camp was furious with the officials and their assistant coach Dereck Agathine was even shown a red card by referee Bernard Camille for decent.

St Michel had to push forward and almost gave away a third goal when Tigana who had a superb match, exchanged passes with substitute Martin Williams before laying the ball on a plate to Adeyeri in the penalty area but the Nigerian striker failed to force the ball past goalkeeper Michel to waste a clear chance for his hat-trick.

Down but not out, St Michel came out with all guns blazing as Foresters ran out of steam and in the 84th minute, St Michel felt they had reduced the deficit from substitute Evariste’s corner which Oliver Livakely’s downward header hit the crossbar and appeared to have crossed the goalline but assistant referee Petrousse failed to raise his flag to indicate the goal much to the disgust of the Anse Aux Pins-based team whose celebration was short-lived.

St Michel again struck the post from Evariste’s corner in the 86th minute as Foresters just managed to clear their lines as they were under intense pressure.

In the 92nd minute, St Michel were offered a lifeline by referee Camille who struggled to control this fiercely contested match as he penalised Foresters captain Besabotsy for handball and Evariste stepped up to shoot past goalkeeper Kitson Cecile to make it 1-2 but Foresters though held on to inflict a second defeat on St Michel as well as preserve their six-game unbeaten league record and their coach Harold Hoareau was very happy with the outcome of this fascinating encounter.

“We started brightly in this match as our game plan worked effectively and it was important for us to win this match but the players looked tired as we had only three days to recuperate after our last match whilst our opponents had more days and looked more fresh but we held on and this is a good result for us,” Foresters coach Hoareau said.

As for the St Michel manager Andrew Jean-Louis, he was convinced that his team were denied a valid goal but praised his players for a good second half display.

“Today the team who made the less mistake won but it was a very exciting and entertaining match and we should have been level at half-time and unfortunately we do not have VAR facility as we scored a good goal and pushed our opponents hard but we just did not get the break through. We are not disappointed with our performance and we will aim to bounce back and get back on track,” St Michel manager Jean-Louis told Sports NATION.

R. J-L.

 

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