Academy, Elite set up FA Cup showdown

Academy players celebrate their win over Sunset FC.

Academy Sports Club and Elite Sports Club have booked a date with each other for Valentine’s Day after hard-fought wins to advance to the 2017/18 CIFA Men’s FA Cup Final.

Academy SC faced Sunset Football Club in the first semifinal at the Annex on 3 February.

Sullivan Zelaya put Academy SC ahead in the 21st minute but Stephen Tatum pulled Sunset FC level three minutes later. Tied late, the game seemed destined to go to extra time before Jessus Ebanks curled the ball around the wall and past the keeper from a free kick 20 yards out in the 89th minute for Sunset FC.

At that stage, with a finals berth a near certainty, the Sunset bench was already in a jubilant mood wit the clock ticking towards the end. But with seconds left before injury time expired, Mark Ebanks collected the ball midfield and carved his way forward before finding Rohann Williams, who equalised just before the final whistle.

With no separation at the end of extra time, it was on to a penalty shootout which went like this:

Academy SC captain Travis McLean spoke to after the game about what was going though his mind when Ebanks gave Sunset the go-ahead goal late. “We’ve been guilty of giving up weak goals in the past and that was another one that I felt we gave up. Thankfully, the team showed strong character once again and we were able to come back,” McLean said.

Academy benefited from substitutions in the final minute of the game, particularly star midfielder Jonah Ebanks, who sat on the bench to recover from a hamstring injury before scoring in the shootout.

“At the very end, we made some tactical substitutions to get some strong penalty takers on. We did penalties the other night and the boys were scoring, so even though they couldn’t have played the full game, they were there to take the penalties at the end,” McLean said.

With the result, Academy is back in the FA Cup Final after losing to Bodden Town Football Club last year. McLean said that has been on their minds: “We came so close last year and this year we’re gunning for it…We’re a very strong team and if we play our game plan, no one can catch us.”


Elite SC def. Cayman Brac FC 2-0

Dwayne Wright pushes the ball forward.

In the second semi-final, Elite SC beat Cayman Brac FC 2-0. Dwayne Wright scored via penalty kick in the 87th minute before Wesley Robinson, who came off the substitutes’ bench, added a spectacular finish in the 90th.

“I’m not a player who’s used to be on the bench but that is the coach’s decision; he sees what is fit for each game and we just have to go out. … I was sitting on the bench and thinking ‘I just want to go in’ because I know as I go in, I could make a difference for this team,” Robinson told

“My mentality coming on, especially with coach putting me in an attacking role…I came on and told my players to get the ball and find me. Surely enough, Gaza (Wright) got the ball and looked for me; I was there and I put it away,” he added.

Wright, who wore the captain’s armband credited the result on adjustments made at the half.

“We started out badly. [In the] first half, we weren’t putting the ball down and making the passes that we normally do but we had a good talk in the dressing room and we came out in the second half and we made it a bit better,” he said.

Devaughn Carter was in fine form between the pipes.

However, the star of the night was undeniably Cayman Brac goalkeeper Devaughn Carter, who came up with numerous saves to keep his side in the game. Carter earned praise from Wright afterwards. “Out of 10, I would give him 8.5. He was brilliant for them tonight.”

It’s now on to a 14 February showdown against Academy in the Final. Robinson said they will be training specifically for their opponents.

Wright added that while they’re ready for the challenge, he’s confident about picking up another piece of hardware after winning the Charity Shield in October, “[Academy] are a pretty good team…but we just have to go back to the drawing board and work out some issues that we had tonight and deal with it on the day,” he said.

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