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Young strikers earn final say

Randy Bennett

Young strikers earn final say

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All eyes?will be?on Diquan Adamson and Jabarry “Papi” Chandler, when the LIME Pelican Football Challenge Final comes off on Saturday at the National Stadium.
Adamson and Chandler, two of the island’s young and upcoming footballers, led their respective teams to victories in the semi-finals on Sunday.
Playing against Barbados Steelworks Esso Oistins Top Bay Settlers, Adamson netted a hat-trick to lead LG Strike Force to a lopsided 5-1 victory in the night’s first game.
Chandler then proved to be TS Strikers’ saviour, netting both of his team’s goals in their 2-1 extra-time win over 2011 champions Bajan Pride.
It has set up a clash between two of the teams with the biggest followings, and a sellout crowd is expected to pack into the Stadium on Independence Day.
Adamson was clinical and lethal against Top Bay, scoring one of the tournament’s best goals to open up the scoring in the fifth minute, before adding two more goals in the 51st and 55th minutes.
After being picked out by a pinpoint pass from Elsid Miggins on the right, Adamson skilfully cut inside his marker before unleashing a breathtaking curling shot past Top Bay’s custodian Bernard Howell.
Despite a late consolation goal from Gregory “Lalu” Goodridge in the 70th minute for Top Bay, Dwayne Mars and Giancarlo Cobham sealed the deal with strikes in the 85th and 91st minutes.
After wasting several opportunities in the quarter-final, Chandler finally came good with two crucial goals to send his team into the final.
His spectacular 82nd minute strike seemed like enough to send TS Strikers through, but a last-gasp effort by Bajan Pride’s Carlo Perry in the 92nd minute sent the game into extra time.
But Chandler would score the decisive goal in the third minute of extra-time, beautifully controlling the ball on his chest before driving a shot past goalkeeper Morrison Taylor.
The National Stadium is expected to be filled to capacity on Saturday when Top Bay and Bajan Pride clash in the third-place match, before the big match between TS Strikers and LG Strike Force gets under way.
The final will feature two first-time finalists, with $100 000 at stake. One thing is for certain though: come Saturday night, only one “Striker” will be standing tall. (RB)