In a tense encounter highlighted by physical play first half strikes from Manasseh Primo and Gregory “Jackie Chan” Richardson Sunday night powered Alpha United FC to a 2-0 victory over Pele FC in the latest action of the Namilco One Love Football Classic at the Tucville Playfield.
The game, which was witnessed by a sizeable crowd, saw the young Pele brigade dominating the early proceedings as they pressed forward searching for the early lead.
Confined to defending in the early stages, concession of the go ahead goal by the Alpha backline was almost realized as a beautifully worked move by the Pele engine room went agonizingly wide in the final third.
The early dominance by Pele continued but desperate defending by the Alpha rearguard prevented any early compromise from the capable Pele frontline.
Buoyed by the partial spectatorship, Pele’s forward charge was briefly curtailed as a stoppage for light, due to fluctuating power was experienced.
Combat resumed between the units and the game quickly opened up as the half rolled on.
A momentum shift was noticeable as the Alpha players began to find a foothold into proceedings through their latest acquisition and former Pele stalwart Richardson, much to the consternation of the Pele faithful.
Chastised for his shock move to Alpha by the Pele fandom, the game began to take on a physical nature as Richardson started to take the game by the scruff of its neck.
Tackles began to fly in on the command of their respective contrasting bases with former Pele players on the ‘Hammer’ side, the target of such physicality, much to the former’s throngs pleasure for their perceived traitorous acts.
On the back foot since the resumption of play, Alpha was awarded a dubious penalty through a perceived reckless indiscretion by the Pele backline after a neatly worked combination was brought to an abrupt conclusion.
The resulting spot kick, which was taken by Richardson, was brilliantly saved by the Pele custodian, sending the mass into a frenzy.
Frustrated due to their lack of penetration and relinquishing the midfield battle ever so slightly, the deadlock was almost broken again as a beautifully played through ball was latched on to by ever threatening Richardson but his shot was expertly denied by the Pele custodian once again.
The deadlock was finally broken with Richardson once again at the fore as a wonderfully played pass was clinically finished in the 40th minute by Manasseh Primo, driving the antagonistic crowd into tumultuous ranting. Confused by the recent breakdown in defensive duties, Pele suffered a further setback when Richardson penned his name on the scorer’s sheet with a brilliant goal in the 45th minute, rounding the custodian in the process.
The second half continued in the same vein with Alpha dominating the exchanges and Pele defending not to concede further. As the saying goes when it rains, it pours, and further misery was heaped on the Pele outfit when captain Shemroy Arthur was given marching orders in the 51st minute for a perceived mistimed challenge, with officiating once again very questionable in this regard.
The sending off of their captain seemed only to galvanize the Pele outfit as they attacked valiantly trying to find a foothold into the fixture. Acquitting themselves admirably in the exchanges, a great opportunity to cut the deficit in half was dreadfully wasted as the corresponding target man simply fluffed his lines in the final third.
Having to surrender possession due to their being a man short, Pele continued to throw bodies forward on the counter attack as they desperately tried to find a way back into proceedings, only to be negated by the physical and combative backline of the “Hammer” as the fixture petered out in the closing minutes.
In the opening game of the evening Santos defeated a gritty New Amsterdam United 3-0 through goals from Ryan Seals, Odel Williams and Vassel Cantzelaar in the 75th, 77th and 85th minutes correspondingly.