Western Tigers, GDF heading to Super-16 final

It was football at its most electrifying self at the Leonora Track and Field Facility on Wednesday night, as Western Tigers and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) pulled off steals to make their way into the GFF-K&S year-end final.
Driven by an animated crowd, some of the best post-pandemic football that Guyana has to offer was on show at the West Coast Demerara venue in two blistering contests that quite literally weren’t over until the fat lady sang.

A glimpse of Western Tigers and GPF in action

Western Tigers were tasked with taking on the Guyana Police Force (GPF) in semifinal one, and won 2-1 by way of a come-from-behind victory.
Equally matched in talent and tactics, the Tigers and Officers were deadlocked at half time, giving spectators the idea that they were in for a long one. However, Police’s Jermin Junor finally broke the lock in the 65th, but Western’s failure to reply instantaneously allowed the Policemen to get too comfortable with their feel-safe goal.

It was a hard-fought battle between GDF and Den Amstel

Western couldn’t seem to find the equaliser until the 85th, when a freekick conversion handed William Europe and the team their first goal. In lightning speed, Trayon Bobb found the back of the net just two minutes later to give Western the lead in the dying minutes of the game.
Try as they may, Police couldn’t find the equalizer, and had to settle for the loss.
“I think it’s a game that we dominated, and I knew we dominated the game, no doubt. Coach Dover and his staff are a very good team, and I think tactically they were good, but I think we did not take our chances. Thank God we came out victorious,” Western Tigers’ Head Coach Charles Pollard shared in giving an assessment of the game.
He went on to add, “We were down, I was disappointed, but I was still confident we have very good players who could play the game.”
Just a few villages away from the venue, Den Amstel, was the better fan-supported team, but GDF’s resilience eventually saw them through. After a handful of chances for GDF, the soldiers saw the first successful strike in the 45th after a gruelling first half. An initial shot bounced off the top bar, but GDF’s Chris Macey was perfectly positioned to tuck the rebounding ball back into the goal for their first.
In the second, Den Amstel emulated Western’s back-to-back scoring with two goals from Gideon Payne. Taking an assist from Jamal Pereira, Payne headed the ball into the goal for the first in the 51st, and followed up with a strike in the 59th.
However, what Den Amstel couldn’t imagine was Ian Dooker pulling off a shocker to level the scores for GDF in the 87th, at least three more minutes before they (Den Amstel) could have been declared winners.
A dismal extra time meant the teams would have to shoot from the penalty mark to decide a winner. As irony would have it, the soldiers were better shooters than their opponents, sealing the win by a 3-1 margin.
The final is scheduled for the same venue on Saturday, January, 1. (Jemima Holmes)