Inspired goalkeeping from Richie Richards propelled Alpha United to the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Stag Beer League Finale crown, edging Slingerz FC 3-0 via penalty kicks on Sunday at the Leonora Sports Facility.
With the score 0-0 following the conclusion of normal and extra time, the always nerve wracking penalty shootout was required to settle the contest, which was a rematch of the League Genesis final.
Asked to take first strike, Alpha United’s Dwight Peters made no mistake as he buried his effort into the top right corner. Slingerz Brazilian import Murilo Barbosa was next from the distance and failed as his effort was pushed onto the upright by the fingertips of Richards, much to the surprise of the large crowd.
Presented with an opportunity to strengthen their grip on the match, the Georgetown side scored from their second attempt as Andre Murray Jr. converted into the lower left corner.
Captain Tichard Joseph was tasked with the responsibility of netting Slingerz’s second attempt. It was the second time Joseph was at the penalty mark as he had missed a golden opportunity from the same spot in the second period of normal time.
Worryingly for the West Demerara unit the outcome was the same as he failed again, unleashing his shot into the path of the diving Richards to his left to give Alpha a 2-0 lead.
Further misery was then heaped on the Vergenoegen unit as ‘the Hammer’ maintained their perfect record from the distance through Delon Lanferman, who finished into the lower left corner to make it 3-0.
With the pressure squarely on their shoulders as they required a conversion to stay alive in the fixture, Slingerz struggles continued with Devon Millington being the latest forward to be denied by Richards to his left, ending the contest.
Due to the outcome, Alpha United received the League Finale title and $4,000,000. Similarly, the win for Alpha United also derailed Slingerz FC’s historic attempt at finishing the round unbeaten.
On the other hand, Slingerz pocketed $2,000,000 and the corresponding trophy. Also, Slingerz will receive an additional $1,000,000 for finishing the league campaign atop the standings.
The two teams will resume their rivalry shortly when they face-off in a single elimination matchup to decide the actual season winner.
That winner will earn an automatic berth at the CFU level, with the second berth going to the team with the most accumulated points in both rounds non-inclusive of the eventual season champion.
Meanwhile, in the earlier third place playoff at 19:00hrs, Fruta Conquerors FC downed Pele FC by a 3-2 score line. Eon Alleyne, Dennis Edwards and Jermin Junior scored for the Tucville unit while Gregory Richardson and Devon Charles netted for Pele.
With the result, Fruta Conquerors walked away with $1,000,000 and the respective trophy while Pele collected $500,000 and the corresponding accolade.