Thursday, November 11, 2010

Etoile FC are champions

In a roller-coaster night for the fans and players of Etoile FC and Tampines Rovers, Etoile FC came out emerged as champions.
After just two minutes, Etoile FC were behind thanks to a Kazuki Kobayashi stunner as he took advantage of the inability of the Stars defence to clear a corner to fire in from the edge of the box.

Yohann Lacroix had no chance to stop the rocket and it was not just the Albirex fans who were cheering for Tampines Stadium must have erupted along with it.

Non more so than when Aleksandar Duric fired in the Stags opening goal a few minutes later at Tampines Stadium.

The Stags were in the driving seat now but the match was not over yet and they knew they have to make certain they achieved their victory first.

That was why they went for their second killer goal and they got it through skipper Aliff Shafaein.

But soon afterward came the news Etoile FC had equalised and if the Stags saw how they got it, they will be disappointed as the White Swans allowed Flavien Michelini the freedom to work his magic and work himself to the edge of the box before he was pulled down.

The referee pointed to the box and up step Loic Leclercq to fire in Etoile FC equaliser.

However, at this point, nothing have changed as only a French win can achieve history so they have much to do yet.

But the French suffer yet another setback in stoppage-time as custodian Lacroix was having a night to forget as he make a fatal mistake of dropping the ball under pressure in a crowded box from a cross from the left.

That was Kobayashi, once again, to take full advantage of it and the Stags fans were cheering.

At half-time, the White Swans looked to have fulfilled their side of the bargain and the title were going to Tampines. 

The danger was the break gave the French the chance to regroup and whether the inexperience White Swans can hold out as the pressure mount in the second period.

The Japanese looked to have done that as they limited the French attack for the early part of the second period and just at the moment, it seem the impossible might happen, Verschave created a chance as he send in a beautiful through pass that split the White Swans defence and a shot was fire in from the edge of the box.

Yoshito Matsushita did well to save it but the rebound was fired in by Frederic Mendy, who got to it first before Mitsuki Ichihara.

Mitsuki Ichihara was finding Mendy a handful as the French piled up the pressure after that goal and chances were coming thick and fast.

The Japanese defendce just could not handle Mendy and the French forward fired in Etoile third goal as he got to a cross from the right before Mitsuki Ichihara yet again.

Just to cap off the night, Verschave, who was having a brilliant night as well, fired in Etoile fourth and kill off the tie.

Once again, the Japanese defence was just a step behind as from a freekick from the left, Verschave ghost past his marker to head into the net past a bewildered Yoshito.
That was the difference as Etoile FC had the chances and they took it while the White Swans could not and that is what experience bring you.

So even as Ismadi Mukhtar fired in a fourth for Tampines with Balestier Khalsa getting one as well through Paul Cunningham, it was in vain.

Etoile FC are S-league champions and the first-ever foreign side to achieve it.

Well done to the Queentown club!

Tampines Rovers
Hassan Sunny (GK), Benoit Croissant, Seiji Kaneko, Akihiro Nakamura, Imran Sahib, Park Yo Seb, (Fathi Yunus) Shukor Zailan, (Jufri Taha) Jamil Ali, (Zulkarnaen Zainal) Aliff Shafaein (C), Ismadi Mukhtar, Aleksandar Duric

Balestier Khalsa
Joey Sim (GK), Paul Cunningham, Daniel Hammond (C), Mushthafa Kamal, K Sathiaraj, Syaqir Sulaiman, Ishak Zainol, K Vikraman, (Han Yiguang) Poh Yi Feng, (Andrew Tan) Rivaldo Costa, (Goh Swee Swee) Vitor Borges

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