High drama in Metropolitan Cup

2016-03-29 06:00
Silver lining for Mitchell’s Plain: Mitchell’s Plain Clinic of Excellence football club were crowned winners of the plate final of the Metropolitan u.19 Premier Cup by beating Greenwood Athletic 1-0 yesterday. PHOTOs: Rashied Isaacs

Silver lining for Mitchell’s Plain: Mitchell’s Plain Clinic of Excellence football club were crowned winners of the plate final of the Metropolitan u.19 Premier Cup by beating Greenwood Athletic 1-0 yesterday. PHOTOs: Rashied Isaacs

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Supersport United is the 2016 Metropolitan u.19 Premier Cup champions after a closely-fought 1-0 triumph over Ajax Cape Town in front of a full house at Erica Park in Belhar on Monday afternoon.

The first half was a cagey affair with both teams showing each other the mutual respect deserving of cup finalists. Ajax came closest to scoring when Godfrey Pelston headed against the inside of the post after half an hour, while Supersport skipper, Teboho Mokoena saw a searing long range drive fly centimetres over the crossbar, a minute before the break.

The second half produced more flowing football with both teams demonstrating full commitment to their respective causes. The deadlock was finally broken 10 minutes after the restart when midfield playmaker, Nelson Maluleke drove the ball firmly past Ajax keeper, Darren Johnson, from the edge of the penalty area.

The Young Urban warriors piled on the pressure, urged on by the vociferous support of their thousands of fans lining the edges of the field. Winger, Leo Thetani had the ball in the net in the 65th minute but the goal was rightly ruled out for offside. Further chances fell to Sebastian Lucas and Pelston, but the Matsatsantsa rearguard held firm in the face of the onslaught to steer their team over the victory line.

Winning coach, Kwanele Kopo was delighted that his pre-match tactical approach had reaped dividends. “We knew Ajax were a good passing team so we opted to sit back in the early stages and remain compact,” he said, “But when we saw that they didn’t offer too much threat going forward, we decided to play a bit more expansively and I feel we controlled the match from then on. Only in the latter stages did we come under pressure when the fatigue from playing two hard matches yesterday began to take its toll. But I am so proud of the character shown by my players. I must express my thanks to Metropolitan and the organisers who put on a fantastic tournament every year. It’s a pleasure to come here and compete.”

Metropolitan had originally pledged to donate R10 000 for every goal scored in the Final to Belhar-based NPO, P.R.E.C.O (Poverty Relief & Empowerment for Change Organization) but spontaneously decided to up the amount to R50 000, despite only one goal being scored in the final.

The Supersport squad received a winners’ cheque for R45 000, medals, a floating trophy and a keepsake replica.

Earlier, MPCE Football Academy won the Plate Final, beating Greenwood Athletic 1-0. Hellenic lifted the Dullah Omar Memorial trophy as the winners of the Mid-Section Final after winning 3-0 against Milano United.

The following awards were handed out at the prize-giving ceremony that followed the conclusion of the final:

Runners-up: R20 000, medals, floating trophy and a replica

Losing Semi-finalists (Bidvest Wits and Ikapa Sporting): R5 000 each

Mid-Section: Winners – Hellenic – R4 500, Dullah Omer Memorial Trophy, medals

Plate: Winners – MPCE Football Academy – R3 500, Floating trophy, medals

Individual Awards:

Referee of the Series: Ashley Skinner (Cape District FA)

Team of the Series: Ikapa Sporting

Player of the Series: Shane Seralina (Ajax CT)

Manager of the Series: Henry Brownley (Bidvest Wits)

Coach of the Series: Kwanele Kopo (Supersport)

Goalkeeper of the Series: Mondli Mpoto (Supersport)

Top Goalscorer: Faghrie Lakay (Supersport) 7 goals

Most Promising Amateur Team: Greenwood Athletic

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