Western Tigers Football Club and Santos Football Club have earned a potentially mouthwatering date in the final of the Stag Nations Cup knock-out football championship following hard fought and contrasting semifinal victories on Sunday night last at the GFC ground.
Western Tigers, having lost the Mayors Cup final to Police were out to exert revenge and that they did 6-5 via sudden death kicks from the penalty mark following a grinding 1-1 tie at the end of regulation and extra which saw both sides missing chances.
Santos fought off the late efforts of an ordinary looking Riddim Squad and their lone goal of the game which came off the boot of Delon David in the 31st minute was enough to take them to the championship match on Saturday. A total of $3M is at stake with the winning club set to pocket $2M.
Such was the fitness and confidence of the Santos side that they only instituted one change during the course of the match, David making way for Rawle Adams in the 46th minute; Riddim Squad utilized three subs but just could not find the back of the nets even as they subs added life to their attack.
Try as they would have in the final 20 minutes, Riddim Squad was unable to breach the Santos defence and had to settle for a third place playoff against the Guyana Police Force (GPF) which succumbed to the Tigers in the feature match of the night.
The ultra-fit Police side which had ran riot in the earlier stages of the competition finally met their match as the rampaging Tigers which had also been destructive in their preceding matches of the championship, cooled down the lawmen.
The Tigers, one of the teams that have shown a high level of organisation in offense and defence in their matches again replicated that discipline which eventually brought them over the line after enduring a stern test by the cops.
Western Tigers took the lead after 35 minutes with Dwayne Mc Lennon tucking his shot past Police’ goalie, Darius Frank. The Tigers kept the momentum going even as the Police unit made a few enterprising runs into Western’s final third and looked the most dangerous from the crosses.
It was not until the 61st minute that the GPF was rewarded for their efforts when Quincy Holder surprised Western’s custodian Troy Carrington with a well placed shot to neutralize their advantage, at 1-1, it was game on.
With momentum on their side now, it looked like the GPF would have overpowered the Tigers with their robust play. Substitute Junior Gordon who was introduced in the 60th minute made rings around the Tigers with his pint point crosses into the box; one such cross narrowly kept out by the cross bar after one of his teammates had already beaten Carrington with his header.
Regulation time did not see anymore goals and the 1-1 which was taken over to extra time remained the same when that period also expired. Kicks from the penalty mark was the next option to decide the winner and at the end of the first five, the score was locked at 2-2 with both sides missing three shots.
The respective goalkeepers doing excellent, especially Tigers’ Carrington. Jamal Pedro and Cleon Forrester were the players to score for Western whilst Police’ Rawl Turnell (sub) and Dwayne Charles were on target to keep their team in the hunt.
The sudden death period where the first team to miss was sent packing, saw Western Tigers being flawless as they scored four with Police missing their fourth, Travis Jones being the culprit. His teammates, Kester Dundas, Attio Wallace and Keron Boston (sub) tucked their chances away.
Scoring for the victorious Tigers were Shane Morris (sub), Darren Benjamin, Joshua Britton (sub) and Ryan Adolph. Saturday is championship day when Western Tigers face Santos while Police will play Riddim Squad in the third place match with $500,000 and $300,000 up for grabs.