Northern Rangers Football Club dismantled Santos Football Club 2-0 while the Guyana Defence Force crushed Netrockers 4-1 Friday night at the Georgetown Cricket Club ground, Bourda to reach the semi-finals of the Georgetown Football Association/Banks Beer Knockout Cup competition.
In the opening game Northern Rangers showed tenacity and tactical acumen in easily disposing of Santos in what is clearly the upset of the tournament so far.
Considered heavy underdogs and with damp conditions underfoot, the boys from Kitty played with the intelligence and guile of a championship team, clearly outwitting their hapless antagonists who were creatively listless.
The first half started out in a cagey manner with both teams clearly apprehensive in the beginning. The pattern continued through the early exchanges as both units struggled to find their passing range and creative rhythm.
Santos began to find their measure quickly asserting their tactical prowess with Northern Rangers posing a considerable threat on the counterattack.
The game opened up as both teams started to press forward, only to be found wanting as the conditions proved to be the catalyst for broken plays with staunch defending its equal on both sides.
Northern Rangers began to find their creative range through their clever passing and almost broke the deadlock through a wonderful buildup only to be found lacking at the finish.
The game began to lull as it approached half time with both outfits clearly trying to consolidate going into the interval.
The second half started at a frenetic tempo with both teams trying to dictate proceedings. Back and forth action erupted as marauding runs from the wider areas typified the openness of the second half. The deadlock was finally broken by an amazing solo run from the dangerous Jermin Scott in the 53rd minute a goal which sent the packed crowd into wild celebrations. Shell-shocked by their then dilemma, the Santos outfit attacked desperately to restore parity, only to be held firmly at bay by the determined Northern Rangers defence.
The Kitty outfit further increased their lead in the 63rd minute compliments of an Omally Nassy strike to further enhance their already dominant position. Despondent by the current state of affairs, deep lobbed passes highlighted the urgency of the Santos unit as they desperately tried to find a way back into the game. Nonexistent creatively and easily dispossessed by the robust backline of the North Rangers defence, further misery was heaped on the hapless Santos team when Vasille Consellars was red carded in the 80th minute for insulting and abusive language to his opposite number. The upset was finally complete when the final whistle sounded, sending players and members of the coaching staff rushing wildly onto the playing area.
In the feature contest, GDFFC showed the character and determination to dispose of a physical Netrockers team. The first half started at a frenetic tempo with both teams trying to seize the early initiative. The army boys broke the deadlock in the seventh minute through a Eusi Phillips penalty kick resulting from a rash challenge in the box.
Inspired by their early dominance and palpably on the ascendency, the army outfit started to find their range and rhythm with Netrockers clearly on the back foot and defending doggedly in an effort not to concede another goal.
The open nature of the game continued as both teams attacked feverishly. GDF almost added to their lead only to be denied by a brilliant save from the Netrockers custodian. Broken plays and misdirected passes littered proceedings as the half neared its conclusion.
The second half continued in the same vein with both teams trying to dictate proceedings. Netrockers restored parity through a neat build up that was expertly finished by Oswin Hope in the 62nd minute to send the spectators into loud celebrations.
The Linden unit’s brief moment of jubilation was quickly stymied, after a brief moment of mental indiscretion led to GDF taking back the lead compliments of a well-taken Marlon Benjamin strike in the 63rd minute.
The back and forth action continued as Netrockers desperately tried to find the equaliser. The Linden boys were simply carved open on the counter attack resulting in further goals from Eusi Phillips 69th and Ryan Morrison 81st minute to put the outcome beyond doubt.
Action continues with the semifinals today 30 at the GCC ground Bourda with Northern Rangers FC taking on Sunburst Camptown FC in the opening game at 6pm followed by Guyana Defence Force FC tackling Riddim Squad FC in the feature event at 8pm.