The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) were always favourites in the final against giant killers Grove Hi-Tech and it showed as the soldiers outclassed and outplayed their spirited opponents on the first night of 2018 to be crowned champions of the Guyana Football Federation’s Super 16 Year-end Football Classic at the Leonora stadium, West Coast Demerara.
The army men scored both of their goals in the second half after either side’s attackers failed to breach the defence of the goalies in the opening half.
The wily GDF striker Eusi Phillips put the army men ahead with a penalty strike in the 58th minute. To add insult to the goal advantage, Delroy Dodson was issued with a red card in the 67th minute to leave Grove Hi-Tech to 10-men. GDF eventually capitalized on their numerical advantage, as Delroy Fraser scored in the 80th minute to sink in the advantage.
Earlier in the night, Fruta Conquerors topped Milerock 3-1 in the third place playoff, which was a Georgetown versus Linden battle.
Young striker Ryan Hackett gave the men in orange a dream start by scoring in the third minute, before the effervescent Jermin Junior added another goal 20 minutes later. With a 2-0 advantage at half-time, Fruta had all but cemented their grasp on third place and they continued on course for the win in the second half.
Junior completed his brace with Fruta Conquerors’ third goal in the 83rd minute to hand his side a 3-0 lead. However, Kester Randolph hauled one back for Milerock when he scored a consolation goal in the 85th minute.
Fans, players and administrators then celebrated the success of the inaugural tournament with a heated live performance from the “King of the Dancehall,” Jamaican, Beenie Man.
For their outstanding efforts, the Army men marched away with $2 Million while the giant killers Grove pocketed $1 Million and also won many hearts for their strong-willed efforts.
Fruta snared the third placed prize of $500,000 while Milerock FC of Linden had to settle for $250,000.