Academy come from behind to lift President’s Cup

Academy Sports Club players celebrate after being presented with the cup from Sports Minister Juliana O'Connor Connolly, as CIFA President Alfredo Whittaker looks on.

It was a tale of two halves, as Academy Sports Club rallied from a half-time deficit to come back and stun Roma United on their way to winning the 2019 Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) Men’s President’s Cup 2-1 on 5 March at the Annex.

Roma United got on the scoresheet when Dexter Sharp Munroe did the heavy lifting to create an opportunity for forward Jorel Belafonte, who collected the ball in front of the net and tapped it past Academy netminder Rhon Royer for the 1-0 lead 13 minutes after the opening whistle.

Roma held form in the midfield and stifled opportunities for Academy through the first half.

Emerging from the dressing room for the second frame, it was clear that Claudio Garcia, not having tasted defeat since taking charge of the Academy side, energised his players with a half-time pep talk.

Mark Ebanks (centre) celebrates with teammates after his equaliser.

In the 65th minute, Mark Ebanks easily got past the defence with his pace and was left one-on-one with Shakur Welcome to beat in the net and blasted it past the keeper. “I saw the defender. He was just lapsing in the back. So, I was able to create the space and go on to finish the goal,” Ebanks told reporters afterward.

Ebanks created another opportunity in the 73rd minute when he broke free and crossed the ball to a streaking Jammael Seymour. “I saw his run behind the defence, so I had to put it on the plate for him,” Ebanks said.

Seymour, who came off injured shortly after the goal, described the finish for “It was a counterattack for the team and I had a chance where I could push forward and get a run before the keeper and I got the ball and just put it away.”

Jammael Seymour defended by Delano Mitchell.

Down a goal with the clock ticking away, Roma could not get back into rhythm and would have to settle for the runner-up spot as Academy players celebrated before and after being presented with the cup from Sports Minister Juliana O’Connor Connolly.

“It feels really great to score the winning goal to get the trophy. It feels really great,” Seymour said.

Ebanks added: “It’s a good feeling. We train really hard all season, so it’s a good feeling to come away with the cup and hopefully, we’ll get the league as well.”

With one game left in the Cayman Premier League season, Academy has a shot at lifting another trophy on 17 March. Sitting third in the table and a point behind Scholars International and Bodden Town FC, Academy will meet Scholars at the Annex. They’ll need some assistance from Latinos FC, who face Bodden Town FC on the same date.

A win by Scholars will secure the title in back-to-back years for the West Bay club. A draw would be good enough for Scholars if Bodden Town draws or loses. Bodden Town needs to win and have Academy beat Scholars, while Academy must win and have Latinos beat Bodden Town in order to reclaim the top spot in the table for their first Cayman Premier League title.


You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.