League leaders beat Barcelona
KING East Local Football Association (Kelfa) league’s log leaders Hellenic came from 1-0 down to beat Barcelona 2-1 in a thrilling Kelfa League Cup final played in Breidbach on Youth Day.
Hellenic showed class, character and determination to claw themselves back in the game. The game had all the ingredients of a cup final and kept the packed crowd on their feet until Simon Quilie, who was praised for his handling of the match, blew the final whistle.
Two late setpieces sealed victory for Hellenic coach Hubert Oliphant’s charges after trailing 1-0 for most of the game, that was played at a quick pace from the start.
Barcelona dominated the opening stanzas, putting tremendous pressure on their opponent’s defenders but struggled to find the target due to a lack of vision in front of goals.
Hellenic on the other hand, had a golden opportunity to take the lead from the penalty spot after an infringement in the opponents’ box, but the chance was squandered as veteran goalkeeper, Jonathan Douglas, was equal to the task. pulling off a save in the 25th minute.
More chances came from both ends but poor finishing saw the first-half end up goalless.
The Acorn Valley side started the second half like a house on fire, throwing everything at Hellenic and were rewarded when ace striker, Cameron Thompson, connected from a cross and calmly shot the ball in to the net on 50 minutes.
Hellenic showed their experience and gradually played the ball through the midfield, forced their opponents’ defenders to make mistakes and were awarded a setpiece just outside the box.
The well-taken free-kick saw Hellenic defender Charliano Lawrence equalise after his header squeezed past a hapless Douglas, with only the final quarter of the game left.
Barcelona’s defenders were at sixes and sevens, resulting in a corner, that saw Hellenic captain Levert Hendricks tapping home the ball for the decider in the dying minutes of the game.
Oliphant commended his players for their gutsy performance, their opponents for making them sweat and match officials for their professionalism.
“Soccer was indeed the winner today as the game could have gone either way but I’m ecstatic for my boys who kept their cool and for sticking to the game plan,” Oliphant said.
“We knew all along that Barcelona is a formidable force to be reckoned with and that we have to dig deep and go the extra mile to beat them as it was evident, and Quilie has once again proved why he is described as the best referee in our association.”
His counterpart, Rauderick Douglas said: “We can still keep our heads high as luck was not on our side; the result was not important here, it was all about the quality of soccer produced by both sides and I think it was just the perfect remedy the hundreds of spectators and the community wanted to enjoy on this historical day”.