WITH Gros Islet having booked the first semifinal spot after defeating Dennery 3-1, matches continued this past weekend for the final three spots in the 2017 Saint Lucia Football Association Under-21 football competition with wins for Vieux Fort South, Micoud and Anse la Raye.
On Monday, at the Marigot playing field, defending champions Vieux Fort South survived some scary moments in the defense to defeat Canaries 1-0, the goal scored by striker Antonio Joseph in the 88th minute.
The scores were locked at halftime as both teams tried to give it their all in conditions that made life difficult for the players following persistent mid-morning rain which left the playing surface waterlogged.
The VOICE spoke to VFS Head coach, Emmanuel Belasse, about his team’s victory following the encounter.
“I did not think that we played like we’re accustomed to: our style of football was hampered by the field condition. But I am not taking away anything from Canaries — they put up a good enough fight and were determined.”
“Some of my players were suffering from lag because they played the semifinals in the Blackheart tournament on Saturday evening. Most of them were asking for a rest but we had to put our best team on show because that’s the knockout stage of the tournament and as defending champions, if you lose, you go home,” he added.
Belasse said the success run for VFS is paying off because of the programmes the team put in place many years ago.
“What we’re doing now is reaping the benefits of what other individuals, including the academies and the youth programmes, have done with the various clubs way back. So we are just capitalizing on it,” Belasse explained.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Babonneau, who placed second in the Northern Zone, came up against top of the East Zone, Micoud, with the latter advancing to the next round of competition, courtesy a goal scored by Wilan Frederick.
It was the battle of Southern Zone Qualifers against the Western Zone qualifiers as second placers Vieux Fort North came up against Anse la Raye.
The scores were nil-all at halftime but Anse la Raye nosed ahead through a goal by Anthony Cadette in the 70th minute. Despite several attempts for the equalizer, VFN added more salt to its injury when they scored an own goal in the 90+2 minute to give ASL a 2-0 win and a spot in the semifinal round.
A date and venue has not been decided by the SLFA but the semifinal line-up has been decided. Vieux Fort South will take on Gros Islet while Micoud play Anse la Raye.