Rivoli, New Green clash in Super League final
Richard Bryan, Gleaner Writer
Defending champions Rivoli United and surprise finalists New Green will do battle in the first leg of the South Central Confed Super League football final at Brooks Park in Mandeville, this afternoon at 3:30 p.m.
Rivoli won 2-1 on aggregate in two legs of semi-finals over Newland, those games ending 1-1 and 1-0, respectively. Anthony Greenland provided the goal in each match for Rivoli.
Their place in the finals was always expected, given their total domination of the league. They finished the preliminary round well on top and had qualified for the semi-finals with four rounds left. The one dent on their record was inflicted by the team they are preparing to face today, and it occurred at the same venue.
Despite starting as favourites, Rivoli's coach, Calvert Fitzgerald, said New Green will be respected.
"We are cognisant they are a good team. Meadows was the team everybody was carrying to meet us, but New Green must be a good team to be able to beat them on two legs so we will approach the game carefully," said Fitzgerald.
New Green won that game 1-0, although Rivoli reversed that defeat by the same margin in the return leg at Prison Oval.
New Green are hardly anyone's pick to have reached this far. They played in a tough zone with four St Catherine teams, and though they were inconsistent in the first half of the season, they were able to fight their way with good performances at Brooks Park, and especially away. This would redound to their favour in the semi-finals when they lost 0-1 at Kirkvine to favoured Meadows, but against all expectations, defeated Meadows 1-0 at Homestead field to end the tie 1-1, forcing extra time and penalties. They eventually triumphed on the latter 4-2.
New Green's coach, André Swaby, said his season plans had included reaching the semi-finals. Having accomplished that, he says he wants to play for more.
"Well, in terms of the competition, our plan was to reach the semi-finals. Now that we have put in the hard work to reach the final, we are aspiring for more," said Swaby. "We have no fear playing Rivoli here or at Spanish Town, as we have been doing that all season."