Mixed emotions as Airtel Rising Star Tournament gains momentum
Match day three of the Airtel Rising Stars football talent project in Makeni entered its third and penultimate day on Saturday. Rising Queens and Malimba Queens FC was bound to be a tough decider – and it actually was. The first match started with both sides playing a very careful match but it soon opened up when Rising Queens Beatrice Kojo in the 29th minute broke the offside trap by running behind defenders and slotting the ball inside the net to the surprise of Malimba defenders. (Photo: Only three days of action in the ARS but there’s been various expressions of pain and joy)
Rising Queens defended doggedly to hold to their thin score line as Malimba Queens surged forward for an equaliser. Luck run out on them in the final minutes of the match when, Samuella Koroma of Malimba Queens FC lobbed a high ball from outside the box, the keeper failed to handle and the ball bounced into the net followed by a rapturous celebration that turned sour when Malimba Queens FC Simithy Sesay was sent off for taking her shirt off and dissenting after she was yellow carded. She was the first player to be sent off in the ARS Makeni tourney, but Malimba was to get the last laugh as the match went into penalty shootout and ended Rising Queens 1-4 Malimba FC. Rising Queens failed to score a single penalty.
The only comfort of the match was that Rising Queens had the star player of the game in their captain, Isata Tholley who wept even as she was interviewed by pressmen.
Match day three’s second match saw Suba United narrowly defeat ABC Starlet FC 2-1. Mariatu Lamin Kamara gave ABC Starlet the lead in the 24th minutes after she picked up a short pass and released a flying shot that was parried into the net by the keeper. Mariatu Conteh scored from the spot in the 48th minute to level the scores for a tough finale. Mariatu Conteh again struck on 55th minute after she cleverly outwitted ABC Starlet defender, Hassanatu Kamara and took a long shot that went through the right post, giving her team 2-1 advantage. Star player of the game – Mariatu Conteh.
The first male encounter of the day, Excel FC versus Maforki was a story of deadlock, a tight match between two teams that set about stopping each other. However, star performer, Yusifu Koroma rose up to the occasion and gave his team a crucial goal late on.
Other players voted star players of their games include John M Kargbo of Sowa FC who won the man of the match performance but saw his team Cheltenham loosing 6-5 to Sowa FC on post match penalty.
Saidu Sesay for Sunday Foundation also caught the eye as it ends Sunday Foundation 4-2 Santos Maria, Saidu put up a strong performance as his team mates struggled. He chased, won balls and tried various ways to encourage his players to get back on the game.
In the day’s final match between Ocean Boys and Frederickson FC, Ocean Boys captain, Saidu Koroma led the way and broke the deadlock in the 26th minute to give his team the crucial lead.
Although Alie Koroma increased the score line 2-0 for Ocean Boys with a deep lob from outside the box making it 2-0, Saidu Koroma was all over the pitch finding the ball and creating opportunities for himself.
Muctaru Wurie, Freetown
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