GDF retain title in tense penalty shootout
A dynasty was created on Saturday evening, as defending champion, the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), successfully retained their title, defeating Western Tigers 5-4 on penalty kicks, after regulation and extra ended 1-1 in the finale of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF)/Kashif and Shanghai Super-16 Championship.
Winner of the previous tournament which was staged in 2019, the army unit was clinical from the distance to prevail in front of a large gathering at the National Track and Field Centre, Leonora.
Western Tigers commenced the penalty shoot-out in the form of Curtez Kellman, who converted in the lower left corner. GDF responded in equal measure as Sherwyn Caesar placed his effort into the right corner.
The second round mirrored the first, as Marcus Wilson scored for Western Tigers and Jeremy Garrett converted for the army. However, Western Tigers surrendered the advantage in the third stanza, as Daniel Wilson was denied by the goalkeeper diving to his left.
GDF quickly capitalized to take the lead at 3-2, as Colin Nelson slotted into the top left corner. Western Tigers levelled proceedings at 3-3 to start the fourth round compliments of a Clive Nobrega strike into the top right corner.
Nevertheless, GDF restored their lead at 4-3 with a conversion into the lower left corner to maintain their perfect record. Needing to score to keep their hopes alive, Western Tigers restored parity with their final attempt, as William Europe finished in the top right corner.
Requiring a conversion to ensure his team retained the title, Kelsey Benjamin made no mistake from the distance, blasting his shot into the top left hand corner to spark wild celebrations on the field. Prior to the penalty shoot-out, Western Tigers took the initial lead in the 16th minute compliments of a Kevon Woodley effort.
Poor goalkeeping led to the aforementioned goal, as an attempted punched clearance by the custodian following a cross into the box, was parried into the
path of Woodley, who tapped home unchallenged into the back of the net.
However, GDF equalized in the 36th minute, as Nelson scored from the penalty mark, following an infraction on Ian Dooker inside the 18-yard area. With the result, GDF collected $2,000,000 and the championship trophy, while the loser received $1,000,000 and the corresponding accolade. On the individual side of the presentation, Nelson was adjudged the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Best
Defender of the tournament. GDF’s Ryan Hackett, Bill Wilson and Randy King also received the Best Midfielder, Best Coach and Best Manager awards respectively.
Meanwhile, Den Amstel defeated the Guyana Police Force (GPF) 2-0 in the third-place playoff. Gideon Payne, who eventually received the event’s top scorer award, bagged a brace in the 24th and 77th minute. Due to the outcome, Den Amstel walked away with $500,000 while GPF pocketed $250,000.