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LIME Pelican champs face early exit

Renaldo Gilkes

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With two?teams already confirmed for the quarter-finals of the LIME Pelican Football Challenge, today’s matches could decide who joins them.
At 4 p.m. Phoenix Toyota UFO Firehouse will be expected to grab maximum points from the winless De Pier’s Sportstown Galaxy while at 6 p.m., Direct TV Red Snappers will oppose LG Kick Strike Force who showed tremendous character in their last game against KFC Akademiks, coming from behind twice to grab a 2-2 tie.
A mere point separates the two with Strike Force playing a game more than the Snappers. A Strike Force victory could assure them of quarter-final berth for the third successive year.
Boasting a very exciting frontline of Carl Joseph, Dwayne Mars and Diquan Adamson, as well as last game hero Tyrell “Peter Pan” Gibbons, this quartet will need to get it right on the night to penetrate the goal of Taizeo Riley.
Snappers’ Decarlo Jemmott will be expected to cause a night of misery for most of his Claytons Kola Tonics Notre Dame teammates, who include defensive players Kimoi Seale, Aaron Leacock and Rudy Grosvenor.
Jemmott will rely on service from midfielders Dario Haynes, Rashad Jules, Damian Walcott and Renaldo Seale. A task which will not be easy against a very versatile midfield unit, comprising of Tremaine Cobham, Elsid Miggins and promising teenager Hadan Holligan.
The feature match is one of great importance for last year’s champions KFC?Akademiks. A loss or draw against Barbados Steelworks Esso Oistins Top Bay Settlers can spell an early exit from the competition for the Pine lads.
The going has been pretty rough for Akademiks, whose major problem has been their inability to prevent goals as they showed they are are capable of scoring in their last encounter.
Coach Kenville Layne will have to sit with his technical staff and select the right personnel to guard young Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme goalkeeper Dario Weir, who helped them salvage their only point so far.
Young Akeem Maloney came in last match and showed he is quite capable of handling the pressure of a centre back under the guidance of the experienced Omar Primus. Perhaps this game may see the return of out-of-favour wing back Omar Archer for Kemal Thompson, who was solid on the right side in his last two games.
Top Bay too, have had their defensive woes and may be tempted to either switch players or formations to get the right result against Akademiks. Captain Ricardio Morris has been employed as a makeshift left back and that has revealed some obvious flaws,
Top Bay’s midfield, led by Kent Hall who is accompanied by Greg Mandeville and Raheim Sargeant will need to keep their shape against Akademiks and be especially mindful of roving midfielders Lionel Paul and Dario Carter. However with the return of Renaldo Bignall, it would be interesting to see who Akademiks starts in midfield.
Both teams possess quality forwards. Akademiks dynamic Mario Harte and Arantes Lawrence are yet to show last year’s form and this may be the time to do it.