Despite an abject second half showing, Vreed-en-Hoop Secondary downed L’Aventure Secondary 3-1 on
penalty kicks when the 6th edition of Digicel National U18 Secondary Schools Football Championship started yesterday at the Leonora Sports Facility.
The cagey fixture was thrown into an exciting conclusion as Vreed-en-Hoop surrendered a 2-0 lead in the dying minutes, requiring the dreaded penalty shootout to settle the outcome at 2-2.
Despite having the momentum heading into penalty kicks, the first round started poorly for L’Aventure as they were denied from the spot. Vreed-en-Hoop quickly capitalised, scoring to take a 1-0 lead.
The fortune of the contest was reversed in the second round as L’Aventure scored while Vreed-en-Hoop missed.
The back-and-forth nature of the contest continued in the third round as L’Aventure failed to score, handing Vreed-en-Hoop the 2-1 lead as they scored from the mark.
L’Aventure’s failure from the distance continued in the fourth round, with another wild miss from distance. Needing only a conversion to seal the fixture, Vreed-en-Hoop made no mistake as they scored from the spot-kick.
Before to the thrilling end, Vreed-en-Hoop grabbed the lead in the 33rd minute as Brian Chapman scored, converting from the penalty spot into the lower left hand corner after being awarded the spot-kick following a foul by the goalkeeper on the onrushing forward.
Shemar Parjohn doubled their lead in the 39th minute, stabbing home into the left corner unchallenged after the goalkeeper parried a cheeky back-heeled attempt into his path.
While guilty of wasting several opportunities during the second stanza, L’Aventure reduced the deficit to one in the 85th minute as Ariel Whosley scored, unleashing a powerful strike from 30 yards out on the right side of the field, which sailed over the head of the goalkeeper and into the right side.
The fixture was then leveled in the 90th+3 minute as a powerful Dan Batson strike from 30 yards out in the centre of the field, sailed through the grasp of the custodian and into the left corner.
Prior to the start of the championship, Digicel executives inclusive of Kevin Kelly, Jacqueline James and Director of Sports Christopher Jones met the participating teams during a march past. Similarly, the ceremonial kickoff was conducted by James.
Matches will commence in the other respective regions from June 15th, with games slated to be held in Georgetown, East Coast of Demerara, East Bank of Demerara and West Demerara.
The championship which will be played in the traditional knockout format, will be staged in every region and will conclude on July 31st at the National Stadium in Providence.
Christianburg/Wismar Secondary has held a stranglehold on the event as they are current four time defending champions. The other victor of the most prestigious event in the country was Georgetown Technical Institute who won the inaugural event.
Winner of the event is slated to receive $1,000,000 toward the funding off a school project and the Championship trophy while the second place unit will receive $700,000 and the runners-up accolade.
The third and fourth placed unit will walk away $400,000 and $350,000 and the corresponding trophy. Similarly, $100,000 will be awarded to achieve zone winner.