Riddim Squad and Pele Football Club clinched semi-final berths in the 25th Kashif and Shanghai Football tourney securing contrasting wins over Western Tigers and Winners Connections respectively on Saturday at the Demerara Cricket Club (DCC) ground.
In the feature match of the evening, Riddim Squad defeated Western Tigers 4-1 via penalty kicks after normal and extra time ended 0-0 in a cagey affair.
Asked to take first strike from the penalty spot, defender Kester Alleyne would not disappoint the Riddim Squad faithful as he buried his effort into the lower left corner past the diving Derick Carter.
Western Tigers would then fall behind in their first attempt as centre half Travis Martin was denied by Ron Liverpool acrobatically to his left, sending the small but vocal viewership into wild celebrations.
Riddim Squad would quickly capitalise on the West Ruimveldt unit’s failure in the second round as Jahaal Greaves finished his effort into the lower left corner, leaving the opposing custodian rooted to the spot.
Eron Hayde would then get Western Tigers on the board in their second attempt, slotting his right-footed strike into the left hand side of the net as the score became 2-1 in the favour of Riddim Squad.
Nonetheless the Mocha-based unit would continue their clinical showing from the spot as Mark Gilkes, like his predecessors, calmly placed his attempt into the lower left hand corner in the third round, pushing his side ahead 3-1.
Already behind the eight ball, the matchup would go from bad to worse for the West Ruimveldt unit in the third round as Darren Benjamin’s shot was saved brilliantly by Liverpool low to his right, sparking further celebrations on the touch lines.
Only needing to score to clinch the win in the fourth round, Shevin Hope would give Carter simply no chance as he rifled his attempt into the top right hand corner, sealing their place in the next round.
With the win, Riddim Squad will now faceoff with Slingerz FC at the same venue on Wednesday. Meanwhile, a 10-member Pele disconnected Linden outfit Winners Connection by a 3-1 score line in extra time.
The early moments of the matchup would start off badly for Pele as captain Shem Arthur was sent off in the 35th minute for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity for the Lindeners.
Pele would then fall behind one minute onward as Rawle `Bony’ Gittens netted, curling a perfectly placed freekick into the top left hand corner, after bring awarded a spot-kick just outside the top of the box.
Despite their numerical handicap, Pele would level the score in sublime fashion in the 70th minute compliments of a 35-yard screamer from Konata Manning within the centre of the park, which nestled into the back of the goal.
Okeene Fraser would then give Pele the lead for the first time in the 102nd minute, slotting the ball under the onrushing goalkeeper into the lower right corner, following a one-on-one situation within the left side of the box.
The result would then be sealed five minutes later as Manning curled his right footed 22-yard freekick from the centre of the field, into the left hand side of the net. Due to the win, Pele will now lock horns with arch-rivals Alpha United on the aforementioned date.
Winner of the event will receive the championship trophy and $2,000,000 while the runners-up will collect $1,000,000 and the respective title. The third and fourth placed teams will receive $500,000 and $250,000 respectively with the corresponding accolade.