Portmore's Young Madrid win LIME Futsal crown
Portmore's Young Madrid won the inaugural LIME Street Futsal Competition and the first prize of $1.5 million by defeating St Thomas' Bath Sports Club 4-2 in the final held at the National Indoor Sports Centre on Sunday night.
In a closely contested match before a boisterous near-capacity crowd, the champions of St Thomas opened the scoring in the 14th minute when Athoneil Francis unleashed a rasping shot that flew by a diving goalkeeper, Maurice Evans. On the replay shown on four giant high-definition screens suspended from the ceiling, it seemed as if the ball burst through his hands before crashing into the net. Seconds later, before the crowd could settle, Portmore struck back, Peleko McRae slotting home from close range.
As the half wound down, five minutes later, St Thomas' Daryan James scored to send his team into half-time with a 2-1 lead.
Portmore got back into contention two minutes after the resumption when Marlon Phillips levelled the score at 2-2. Both teams muffed opportunities to take a lead until the 34th minute when two quick strikes from Portmore sealed the issue. First, Phillips scored his second, running on to a back heel from a teammate to smash a long-range scorcher into the back of the net. Two minutes later, AndrÈ Smith scored from a goal-mouth scramble to put the match beyond St Thomas and sparking wild celebrations that included confetti being exploded into the air.
Evans dedicated the win to their supporters and the disenfranchised youth, but on reflection said that in the beginning, it was a struggle just to get the team together. "When it just started, every day I had to be inna dem skin, calling them, Whatsapping them just to keep them together because I knew they could do the job because only football could bring back the love inside the community," said Evans as the last of the confetti drifted back to earth.
The elated captain said some of the money will be shared among the players, and some will be used to sponsor a youth programme that he hopes will motivate the youth in the community. "We have to show the youth that there is something more out there for them other than sitting down on the corner," he said.
The matchup between the All-Manning and All-DaCosta teams proved to be anti-climactic as the former won on a romp 12-5.