Empire tame Lions in last minute
Substitute Omando Mcleod netted a late winner to move Empire four points clear at the top of Zone 2 in the Barbados Football Association (BFA) Premier League following a 2-1 victory over the St Andrew Lions on Tuesday night.
One minute of regular time was left in the match which could have easily gone either way, when Mcleod’s powerful right-footed effort beat Lions’ goalkeeper Donte Hinds from just outside the box at the Wildey Turf.
It was heartbreak for the Lions, who once again included several Brazilian nationals in their starting line-up, while hunting their first victory of the season. The Lions, who haven’t been roaring, lost their three opening games. Despite a cagey start, the tempo really heated up midway through the first half.
Empire grabbed the opening goal in the 35th minute compliments the left boot of junior national player Abiola Grant.
St Andrew conceded a corner, which was floated into the box by Curtis Odle causing headaches for the Lions backline. They were unable to get the ball clear and Grant drilled the ball hard and low, past Hinds to make the score 1-0.
Empire should have been two goals to the good after Jabarry “Papi” Chandler did well to get off a left-footed shot on the edge of the box but Hinds made the save. Playing in the midfield Darico King, who transferred from the Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme (BDFSP) was at the centre of the Lions’ attacks, making key passes as his team grew in confidence.
Shift in momentum
In the second half, momentum shifted and Bruno Da Silva, along with fellow South American Jefferson Silva began to play with a little more urgency going forward. This contributed to Shamar Edwards getting the equaliser for the Lions in the 54th minute.
Neat work from outside the box allowed Edwards to create acres of space in which he fired a shot which clipped the inside of Oba Tucker’s right bottom corner and found its way into the back of the net. That goal opened up the game and set up an exciting final half of an hour. Chandler was busy upfront all night for Empire but the prolific striker was unable to deceive the Lions’ defence.
Both teams made substitutions just around the 65-minute mark but the most impactful was when Reneko Thompson was replaced by Mcleod.
Odle did damage down the right hand side, which resulted in his cross being half cleared by the Lions. Mcleod seized the loose ball and scored the winner in the 89th minute.
In the final game, new boys Youth Milan registered their first victory of season, defeating Ellerton by a 2-1 scoreline. Ellerton benefited from a Kemar Chase own goal to take the lead but Rosean Brathwaite also put the ball in his own net before Chase redeemed himself with a freekick, four minutes later.
Play maker Curtis Odle of Empire curling the ball into the box against the St. Andrew Lions’ defence. by anmar[email protected]tionnews.com