Last evening’s grand finale, littered with physicality, red cards and goals, saw Chase Academy being crowned the third annual Milo Schools u-20 football champions, defeating Dolphin Secondary 2-1 at the Ministry of Education ground.
Eventual tournament Most Valuable Player (MVP) Isaiah Reddy’s strike and an Amil Cosbert own goal on either side of half time in the 15th and 70th minutes respectively silenced the large, partisan crowd. On target for the losers in the 85th minute was Aleim Murray.
With the win, Chase Academy clinched $500,000 towards the building of a school project and the championship accolade. Dolphin Secondary for their efforts, claimed $300,000 aimed at a similar school venture and the runners-up accolade.
Surrounded by an atmosphere reminiscent of a street party, Chase Academy would take the lead with their very first shot on target.
Racing into the centre of the box to latch onto a through pass, Reddy would place his effort past the advancing custodian into the lower right corner, igniting small celebrations among their following.
Leon Richardson almost levelled the score line in the 27th minute but his first time header was deflected by the onrushing ‘keeper Amoniki Forde within the centre of the box, after he had outsprinted the defence to latch onto a lobbed pass from centre field.
Reddy would then spurn a great chance to put further daylight between the two sides in the 36th minute, lashing his first time strike over the crossbar from centre of the box, after latching onto a flat left sided cross from Shamar Barrow.
The second goal would continue to evade Chase Academy in the first half with as Reddy directing his towering header in the 42nd minute, narrowly wide of the right corner from within the centre of the box, following a right sided cornerkick.
Dolphin Secondary would then be handed a lifeline four minutes into the second period as Chase Academy’s centre half Jeremy Garrett was shown a straight red card in the 49th minute for violent conduct on an opposing player.
Despite their numerical handicap, the Parade Street outfit continued to dominate proceedings and would eventually double their lead under fortuitous circumstances as Cosbert directed the ball past his ‘keeper into the left corner of the net 21 minutes later.
With their title aspirations ticking away, Dolphin Secondary would eventually cut the deficit to one 15 minutes onward as Murray scored, powering his header into the top right hand corner, after receiving a left sided cross within the right side of the box, sending the entire venue into a frenzy.
The resulting goal would lead to the ejection of two players as Ozeal Small of Chase Academy and Joseph McKenzie of Dolphin Secondary were shown red cards for using abusive language towards each other.
Forced to contest the remaining minutes with nine men, Chase Academy would be further reduced as Jobe Caesar was sent off in the 90th minute for utilizing excessive force on his marker.
Nonetheless, Chase Academy would hold on in the remaining minutes of added time to seal their first major championship. Dethroned champions Lodge Secondary clinched the third place position, squeaking past Morgan Learning Centre by a 2-1 score line.
Kevin Boters and Ryan Hackett netted for the winners in the 15th and 57th minutes while Vermont Munroe initially gave Morgan Learning Centre the lead in the eighth minute.
Due to the win, Lodge Secondary walked away with $200,000 towards the building of a school project and the respective trophy. Morgan Learning Centre on the other hand, walked away with $100,000 towards a school a school initiative and the corresponding trophy.
On the individual side, Forde claimed the best goalkeeper award after only being breached four times in the entire championship.
Clinching the tourney’s top scorer award with 11 goals was Kelsey Benjamin of Queenstown Secondary while Chase Academy’s Vurlon Mills received the best coach award. Receiving the most disciplined team accolade was Queenstown Secondary.
Meeting the teams prior to the kick off were Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ministry of Education Olatto Sam, Deputy CEO of the Ministry of Education Marcel Hudson, Milo Brand Manager Renita Seethal, Petra Co-Director Troy Mendonca, Georgetown Football Association (GFA) President (Ag) Lavern Fraser Thomas, Guyana Football Federation Technical (GFF) Assistant General Secretary Diedre Davis, GFF Director Claude Bolton and GFF Finance Director Kareem Jones. The ceremonial kickoff before the finale was done by Ministry of Education CEO Sam.