A dynasty was cemented Sunday in front of the largest crowd to grace a Secondary Schools football final as Chase Academy secured their third Milo championships edging Morgan Learning Center (MLC) 3-2 on penalty kicks.
It was a fixture befitting a final as the emotional rollercoaster of the penalty shoot-out was required at the Ministry of Education ground after regulation and extra time swathe match ending 1-1.
The boisterous crowd which encircled the halfway mark during the penalty shoot-out added to the spectacle as the first round of kicks ended 1-1 with goalkeeper Jermaine Cumberbatch scoring for MLC and Jeremy Garrett equalising for Chase Academy.
However, the second round changed the momentum of the contest as MLC’s Orin Moore was denied by goalkeeper Sese Norville handing Chase Academy the opportunity to take the lead.
The holders duly capitalised with Job Caesar proving to be the man for the job, scoring in the top right corner to make it 2-1.
Chris Macey, scorer of MLC’S goal during normal time, slotted his effort into the left corner to level proceedings at 2-2 to start of the third round.
The loudest cheers were then reserved for Cumberbatch who denied Ryan Hackett from the spot to his right ensuring the score remained 2-2 entering the fourth round.
Nevertheless, there would be another twist to the tale as MLC handed Chase Academy the advantage with Daniel Floyd lashing his effort over the crossbar amid taunts from sections of the crowd.
Once again the champions punished MLC for their failure. This time in the form of their goal scorer in regulation time Shamal Smith, who buried his effort into the lower left side in the process handing his team a 3-2 lead heading into the fifth and final round.
The gravity of the situation got the better of MLC for the third time as they sealed their own defeat with Carl Griffith being denied by Norville to his right sparking wild celebrations on the field from the smaller but equally loud Chase Academy fandom.
Prior to the dramatic conclusion, MLC, despite being in uncharted territory as this was their first final, took the lead through Macey in the 15th minute.
From the onset, the methods were different from the combatants with the title holders opting for a possession-based attack compared with a direct approach from the challenger.
However, Macey’s goal was of the highest quality as the diminutive attacker, with his back to goal inside the left of the box, turned and smashed his effort onto the right upright and into the back of the net, giving the goalkeeper no chance.
MLC’S lead though proved to be short-lived as Smith equalised 11 minutes later, directing his powerful header from the centre of the box onto the crossbar and into the back of the net.
The woodwork then came to the rescue of the challengers in the 37th minute when Hackett uncorked a thunderous left foot strike from 36 yards out in the centre of the field, which crashed onto the crossbar.
Although the second half failed to match the intensity of the first period, MLC fashioned the best chance in the 81st minute when David Coates was presented with a one-on-one situation with Norville from the right side of the box, only to be denied by the legs of shot-stopper.
Due to the win, Chase Academy walked away with $500,000 towards a school project and retained the championship trophy. The losers for their efforts, pocketed $300,000 towards a school programme and the runners-up accolade.
Meanwhile, Masters Academy humbled Sir Leon Lesson 5-1 to clinch the third place. Calvin Peters bagged a hat-trick in the fourth, 75th and 88th minute while Tyrone Khan scored a brace in the 73rd and 81st minute.
On target in the loss was Omari James in the 20th minute.
With the result, Master’s Academy walked away $200,000 towards a school project and a trophy, whilst Sir Leon Lesson received $100,000 towards an identical initiative and a trophy.
Individual prizes of Most Valuable Player, Best Goalkeeper and Highest Goal Scorer will also be awarded.
The event is also sponsored by the Ministry of Public Health.
Meeting teams before the start of the final were Manager of M. Beepat and Sons, Ramdat Rampersaud, Marketing Manager of the company Renita Seethal, Joy Gravesande-Simon, Representative of the Ministry of Public Health and Petra Organization Co-Director Troy Mendonca.