Football: SFF division one playoff |19 December 2016
Bosco ease past Real Maldives to guarantee first division status
First division side St John Bosco had to come from behind to edge past second division league runners-up Real Maldives 2-1 at Stad Linite in the playoff match on Saturday afternoon.
Coached by former national team and St Michel captain Don Anacoura, Real Maldives had made a flying start to this match as they grabbed the lead as early as the fifth minute.
It all started from a free kick on the edge of the penalty area which Bosco conceded and Terry Crea blasted the ball over the wall past Bosco’s reserve goalkeeper Gerard Tirant to make it 1-0.
The goal failed to spark Bosco into action in this first period though they had plenty of possession while their opponents were happy to contain them.
The second half though was a different scenario as Bosco raised the tempo to force the Anse Etoile-based team on the defensive for long periods.
In the 56th minute, Keddy Moustache surged into the box and went down under Nadim Lucas’ challenge as he looked for a penalty but referee Kerens Yocette correctly turned down his appeal.
On the hour mark, Travis Quatre let fly a cracking shot which goalkeeper Chris Cecile could only parry to safety.
It was relentless pressure from Bosco as Rahman Esparon forced goalkeeper Cecile to scramble a long range shot into corner.
In the 63rd minute, Bosco’s Antonio Ratafina sent a teasing cross to Malagasy Herizo Razaparany whose downward header was tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Cecile who surprisingly injured himself in the process and was replaced by Richie Dubel.
Bosco got their due reward for all the pressure they were exerting on their opponents as Travis Quatre scored a real beauty from over 35 metres as he unleashed an unstoppable left foot shot in the 72nd minute which flew past goalkeeper Dubel for a 1-1 score.
Seven minutes later, Bosco took a deserved lead as Rahman Esparon bore forward to exchange passes with Razaparany and then he rifled a shot from the edge of the penalty area which goalkeeper Dubel could not stop from crossing the line despite his brave attempt for a 2-1 score line.
Bosco should have scored a third goal in added time as substitute Julio Edmond released Razaparany who in a one-on-one situation with goalkeeper Dubel, clipped the ball narrowly wide but it did not matter as they won to book their first division place for the second year running for the 2017 season.
Their coach Roger Labonte though felt his team need to improve next season if they are to survive in the top flight.
“Last season we got promoted by luck but now we have proved ourselves by winning the play off. We started badly today though and had to calm down in the second half and be patient. In the end we dominated and got the victory we deserved. As for next season, we will have to bring in more players if we are to avoid being involved in a relegation battle,” revealed coach Labonte.
As for Real Maldives coach Don Anacoura, he was disappointed with his players for not responding to the challenge.
“We had prepared for this match but it seems the players were not fully ready for this challenge so I’m disappointed with our commitment level as we had a satisfactory first half but then decided to drop back and defend in the second half,” coach Anacoura said.
Bosco will stay in the top flight for the second season running to complete the 12-team first division in 2017.