Back Circle stuns defending champions Bent Street

A new king will be crowned in the second annual Petra Organization Futsal championships after defending champions Bent Street was dethroned by Back Circle 3-1 in the semi-final Saturday at the National Gymnasium, Mandela Avenue.

The contest, which was watched in a venue filled to the rafters, was undisputedly the game of the tournament as the youthful East Ruimveldt unit, urged on by a massive following, stunned the tournament favourite.

While the goals of Jermaine Beckles, Selwyn William and Akeemo Anthony will be remembered for days to come, the contest was all about the exploits of custodian Azariel Davis, whose display between the woodwork provided the platform for the spectacular win.

Davis constantly thwarted the advances of the star-studded Bent Street cast, reeling off highlight save after highlight save in a manner unseen in years prior.

Selwyn ‘Nick’ Williams (center) attacking the Bent Street backline moments before the equalising goal during their semi-final fixture in the Petra Organization Futsal Championship at the National Gymnasiuma

Although conceding an early goal in the third minute to Konata Manning, Davis was flawless in his defensive output thereafter, recording a total of 15 brilliant saves.

The victims of his brilliance were Manning, Okeene Fraser, Colin Nelson, Sheldon Holder, Dwight Peters, William Europe and Joshua Browne.

Easily the most supported team in the event, Back Circle found the equaliser 10 minutes after in the form of Beckles, whose powerful strike from the right side sailed into the roof of the left corner.

The celebrations that followed gave the impression of a championship victory as the crowd stormed the field, halting the fixture for several moments.

If the celebrations for the equalizer were loud, the go-ahead goal from Selwyn William in the 27th minute blew the proverbial roof off the venue.

Jermaine Adams (left) of Back Circle bracing for the impending tackle from Bent Street’s Okeene Fraser (center) in their semifinal showdown in the Petra Organization Futsal Championship at the National Gymnasium

The crowd screamed as Williams latched onto a through pass from Stephon McLean, before hammering a thunderbolt from the left side into the top right corner, giving the goalkeeper no chance.

Scenes from the first goal followed as Bent Street was clearly stunned and engulfed by the waves of celebration and outpouring of emotions from the Back Circle fan base, who made their presence felt with shouts and taunts.

The celebrations then reached its zenith in the 38th minute as Anthony completed the unlikely result, striking the fatal blow down the center of the net past the advancing goalkeeper, after turning past his marker following a throw from Davis.

Back Circle will now face-off with Sparta Boss in the final in a rematch of the earlier group round, after the latter prevailed against Sophia via a 4-1 margin.

The outcome was less than dramatic as the East La Penitence unit sealed the win led by a double from Gregory Richardson on either side of halftime.

Richardson recorded the fastest goal to date in the 10th second, with a shot from the left side into the lower left corner.

Sophia equalised in the third minute under fortuitous circumstances as, an attempted clearance from the defender, struck the leg of a teammate and settled into the lower left corner.

However, Sparta retook the lead in the 12th minute as, a Eusi Phillips effort from the right side, took a deflection off a defender and settled into the right corner.

Richardson then made it 3-1 in the 21st minute with a powerful strike into the lower left corner from the right side, before Cleon Forester completed the result in the 39th minute with strike into the lower left corner, after racing onto a through pass down the right side.

The two losing semi-finalists will battle in the third place playoff. Prior to the commencement of the aforesaid fixtures, Guyana Power and Light (GPL) disconnected Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) 5-4 in their exhibition matchup.

Also, Customs crushed Republic Bank 5-2 while Referees edged Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) 4-3 and Pretty Posse Taxi and Green Ice Taxi battled to a 1-1 draw.

Winner of the tournament will collect $400,000 and the championship trophy while the runner-up will pocket $200,000 and the corresponding accolade.

The third and fourth place finishers will collect $100,000 and $50,000 respectively and the respective accolade. Individual prizes of Most Valuable Player, Best Goalkeeper and Highest Goal Scorer will also be awarded.

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