The traditional Linden versus Georgetown rivalry provided the plot for the solidification of a dynasty as Sparta Boss retained their Guinness of the Streets National Title, defeating Lindeners Team 25 2-0 on Friday.
The massive crowd at the National Cultural Centre Tarmac provided the setting and eventual coronation of the dynasty as goals from veteran sharpshooters Devon Millington and Gregory Richardson sealed the result.
History was created due to the outcome as the East La Penitence unit became the first team to successfully retain the National Championship and capture three consecutive Guinness titles, walking away with $400,000 and the championship trophy. They also earned the right to represent the nation at the Guinness Caribbean Championships next month in St. Lucia.
Team 25 collected $150,000 and the runners-up trophy and while it was not a classic contest by any stretch of the imagination, the Linden unit provided a stern test of the champ’s mettle.
It was a clear game plan by the visitors to play on the counterattack. This method immediately paid dividends as it restricted the passing lanes for the free flowing Spartans, forcing long range attempts from just over the halfway line.
The defensive approach almost produced the opener for Team 25 as a Quacey Johnson right side shot was cleared off the line in the 19th minute by the retreating Eusi Phillips.
The valiant rearguard effort of the Lindeners was eventually broken in the 23rd minute as Millington slotted home from the left side after collecting a pass from the right side, much to celebration of the partisan crowd.
In a bid to acquire the equalizer, a different approach was undertaken by Team 25 in the second period. The new found attacking mindset created an open contest which favoured the Georgetown unit.
Cleon Forrester thought he had doubled Sparta’s lead in the 36th minute, only to witness his right foot strike from the right side crashing into the left upright and rolling out of danger.
On the other side, Kennard Simon should have equalized for Team 25 in the 47th minute as an initial strike was parried into his onrushing path by the final defender, before skewing his effort high over the crossbar unchallenged.
The championship was ultimately retained in the 59th minute, with Richardson applying the nail in the coffin with a brilliant turn on the right side from the final defender and finish into the empty net, sparking an invasion on the field.
In the third place playoff, Wisroc edged Channel-9-Warriors 3-1 led by a double from Clarence Huggins in the third and seventh minute and a solo effort from Michael Williams in the 11th minute. Kemo Lawrence scored in the 13th minute.
Scoring in the loss was Kemo Lawrence in the 12th minute. Due to the win, Wisroc collected $100,000 and the respective accolade while Channel-9-Warriors received $50,000 and the corresponding trophy.
In the earlier semi-final, Sparta Boss downed Wisroc 3-1. Millington recorded a brace in the eighth and 12th minute while Eusi Phillips scored in the ninth minute.
On target in the loss was Omeion Wills in the 20th minute. Meanwhile, Team 25 upset Channel-9 Warrior 2-0. Johnson and Ryan Noel scored in the 18th and 25th minute respectively.
Meeting the teams before the start of the final were Sports Director Christopher Jones and Guinness Brand Manager Lee Baptiste while the ceremonial kickoff was conducted by Jones.