Gros Islet and Canaries over the weekend secured their places in the semi-final round of the SLFA/Blackheart Knockout Championship. On Wednesday evening the final two voids of the semi-final were filled following nail-biting encounters on the pitch. The night at the Philip Marcellin Grounds began with 2015 champions Micoud squaring off against last year’s runner up Marchand. Team Micoud entered the game high on confidence as a result of their recent history against this Marchand outfit. However it would not be business as usual for the Blackheart Big 8 winners as Marchand in the first half were quick to stamp their authority on proceedings. Through intelligent use of the width of the field, very high and prompt pressing and pin point accurate passing, Marchand had Micoud on the backfoot from the inception. In the 29th minute of play, Marchand’s early superiority would be rewarded as they broke the deadlock. Androus Remy, following the receipt of a quick and long transitional pass from his defensive midfielder, adeptly weaved his way through the entire Micoud back four before nonchalantly slotting the ball passed an already beaten Micoud goal keeper. The half ended with Marchand up by a goal to nil and in the ascendency in terms of overall game play.
Micoud began the second half of the encounter with renewed vigour. They were able to capture an equalizer after just 10 minutes as a Marchand defender lunged in desperately in an attempt to negate a would be shot from the Micoud striker inside the 18 yrd box. However, his tackle caught the heels of the Micoud attacker and inevitably resulted in a penalty being conceded. Kyran Marcellin from team Micoud stepped up to the spot and made no mistake in converting the penalty and again making the scoreline even. The game raged on with both teams going on the offensive searching for a goal to present them with an advantage. Both teams squandered a number of chances to go ahead in the game. However, with only 2 minutes of regulation time to be played, Marchand’s exciting wing play resulted in an excellent left hand cross finding its target Androus Remy inside the Micoud 18 yrd area. Remy displayed excellent composure and strength to shield out the tackling defender and slotting the ball just beneath the crossbar to secure Marchand’s second. Micoud did as any trailing team would and committed everything forward in an effort to restore parity. Sadly, the time was inadequate and Marchand celebrated extravagantly at the sound of the final whistle. This victory secured Marchand’s place in the semi-final where they will face off against Canaries.
In the second game of the night, defending champions Vieux Fort South was able to shatter the resilience of a very young Anse La Raye team to propel themselves to the semi-final round. Asne La Raye displayed great defiance towards the title favourites as they defended valiantly. Unfortunately, a lapse in concentration from their goal keeper gifted Vieux Fort South the only goal of the encounter and hence a place into the final four. The Phillip Marcellin Ground erupted as the ball entered the net in the dying minutes of the encounter.
The semi-final round will be played at the Darren Sammy National Stadium on Saturday. Marchand will play Canaries at 6:30 p.m. while Gros Islet will have their hands full with the defending champions Vieux Fort South at 8:30p.m.