Sparta outlast Back Circle to take title

NSC/Magnum Mash Cup 2019…

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, and Director of Sport, Christopher Jones, were among what was indisputably the largest crowd to witness indoor futsal as the curtains came down on this year’s National Sports Commission (NSC)/Magnum Mash Cup Competition on Saturday night at the National Gymnasium.
Guyana’s most decorated team in the futsal format, Sparta Boss, continued their mastery over local teams when they outlasted a stubborn Back Circle side in penalty shootout to underline their status as the best team in the shorter version of the sport.
A crowd that exceeded all expectations watched the ‘Bosses’ hold their nerve as customary in the latter stages of tournaments to prevail 2-1 in the penalty shootout after regulation times were expired in a pulsating 4-4 stalemate.
In the third place playoff, dethroned champion Bent Street took a similar route, defeating ‘Gold is Money’ 3-1 in a penalty shootout after their clash ended 2-2 in regulation time.
The large turnout — predicted — saw the old adage of “success breeds enemies” being played out right before their eyes when Sparta Boss took the lead in the 10th minute through the experienced Gregory ‘Jackie Chan’ Richardson, who netted to give the Bosses the early ascendancy. That celebration was short-lived as Selwyn Williams, another player vastly familiar with the format, equalised one minute later to level the score.
Back Circle then took the lead through Jermin Beckles in the 17th minute, to send their supporters into wild celebrations, but just like what they had done, Sparta Boss riposte was swift as well, when Eusi ‘Boneyman’ Phillips scored two minutes later to keep the pulsating contest deadlocked 2-2 at the break.
With all to play for in the final period, the two juggernauts entertained the crowd with some mesmerising football, and it was not until the 32nd minute that the gridlock was broken when the prolific Ryan ‘Bum Bum’ Hackett penetrated the Back Circle defence to hit his effort into the goal.
Known for their unmatched resilience, Back Circle would respond two minutes later, when Beckles netted his second, to level things as full time approached.
The ‘Bosses’ were in familiar territory, and showed their experience when Jermin ‘Panke’ Junor, who had been kept quiet all evening, unleashed from close range four minutes from full time, to give his team a narrow advantage in the closing stages.
The East Ruimveldt-based unit was again in no mood to lie down and die, and their reply came two minutes later through Adrian Aaron, as the teams tied 4-4 with two minutes in regulation time remaining.
They failed to score in the final minutes, which then required a penalty shootout that saw Sparta Boss prevail to capture the crown and $600,000 along with the winning trophy.
For their effort, Back Circle took home $300,000 and a trophy.
‘Gold is Money’ twice came from behind to level the scores in their encounter against Bent Street, but fell short in the penalty shootout to concede third place.
Bent Street was awarded $200,000, while ‘Gold is Money’ collected $100,000. Both teams received trophies.
The other sponsors on board were Insurance Brokers, Trophy Stall and Nigel Hinds.