Monday, November 30, 2009

Emigrantes will again represent Mass in the Region IV Open Cup Tournament Next Spring

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

2009 Massachusetts State Cup Champions Emigrantes Das Ilhas booked their place in the USASA Region I Open Cup tournament next Spring by defeating Boston Olympiakos (2007 National Amateur Cup champions) 4-2 on penalty kicks on a rainy evening in East Boston. The build up to the game needed no extra incentives as the two teams had just met 48 hours earlier in a fiercely contested US Amateur Cup game in Brockton. The game ended in a 2-2 tie with Emigrantes advancing to the group finals ahead of Olympiakos on goal difference.

Tonight's game would prove no different. Emigrantes were first out of the blocks and on the score sheet within the first 8 minutes of play after some delightful skill by Edens Chery down the left flank. His cross into the box was met by Barbosa whose shot was superbly saved by the Olympiakos keeper. But the rebound kindly fell to Cherry who needed no second invitation to shoot and score. It was a fantastic start for Emigrantes considering they began the game without a goalkeeper or any substitutes as many of their players and fans were stuck in the Boston-evening peak hour traffic.

By the 25th minute Emigrantes were down to 10 men when Jose Veiga picked up a foot injury in a challenge with the Olympiakos keeper. Fortunately their players began to trickle in and Emigrantes were back to full strength with goalkeeper Jordan Mota coming on for injured Veiga and replacing Aderito Pina in goal who then took up his normal position in defense.

Instead of pushing for a second goal, Emigrantes eased off and Olympiakos began to make a push for an equalizer through playmakers DaSilva and Walker. But the execution of their final pass was poor. Frustration began to mount for twin strikers Jessey and Justin Fernandes as they couldn't muster any chances against a solid Emigrantes defense. They settled for long range shots which were handled comfortably by Mota. With the evening temperature dropping and rain falling, both teams seemed to be looking forward to the half-time whistle which came after 4 minutes of injury time.

The second half started with Emigrantes forming an assault on the Boston Olympiakos goal. Wave after wave they attacked. First with Barbosa coming close after some nice work by Daniel Xavier down the right. Then it was Zico Veiga to carve out a decent shot that sent the Olympiakos keeper sprawling to his left. And before he could get on his feet, Iuca was there to rattle his crossbar. It seemed like only a matter of time before Emigrantes would score. But credit to Boston Olympiakos who somehow found a way to weather the storm. Those opening 20 minutes of the the second half must have felt like 2 hours to them.

Their fortunes would get better as the excellent Carlos Amado of Emigrantes pulled a hamstring and had to be replaced by Ernesto Lopes. With only one substitution available, Emigrantes were forced to shuffle their midfield by moving the brilliant Carlos Semedo to left back. This would become his third position of the night after filling in at center back and midfield. This opened up the center of the park and Olympiakos began to find some space. As time ticked closer to the 90th minute mark, Olympiakos began throwing numbers forward forcing the Emigrantes defense to drop deeper onto their own 18 yard line. And when Fernandes clearance attempt fell short 2 minutes into stoppage time, Justin Fernandes was on hand to score and tie the game at 1-1.

It was tough blow to Emigrantes as Olympiakos never seemed like scoring. With overtime looming and Emigrantes dejected, Olympiakos now felt they could win it. Within in 2nd minute of overtime, they were 2-1 up thanks to a cracker of a free kick from 25 yards out. Mota had no chance. Now Emigrantes were left to chase the game. With time winding down in the second half of extra time, they would find an opening through a man of the match performance in Chery. His dazzling run down the left and cross was met and turned in by Barbosa. With penalties looming, each team took a defensive approach to the final minutes.

Emigrantes won the toss and opted to shoot first scoring all three of their first penalty kicks through Lopes, Chery and Xavier. Olympiakos replied with scoring their first 2 before Geoffrey Walker's kick was saved by Mota. Up stepped Zico Veiga to score and make it 4-2 Emigrantes. With Olympiakos needing to score they sent Jessey Fernandes to the spot who placed his shot to his right only for Mota to guess right and make a fine save.

A deserved win for Emigrantes who were the much better team over the 120 minutes and to be honest, should have wrapped up the game in normal time. Olympiakos will now have to wait another year to have another chance at emulating Emigrantes after losing out twice to them in the last 48 hours.

By Nolan Napier


1 comment:

  1. excellent party last night for the fund raiser ! It wonderful to see a dedicated group get together to support such a talented team of soccer players ... good luck emigrantes in 2010