FOOTBALL: Reliance FC Got Their Homework Right
After suffering a 4 - 1 humiliation in the hands of Red Star F.C last week in Gunjur "nawettan" knock-out cup final, Reliance F.C decided to make some alterations to that line up and it all goes down well as they showed greater resistance to defeat Red Star 4 - 1 on penalties following a 1 all stalemate in regulation time and claim Green Vision International sponsored Gunjur "nawettan" league cup. Unlike the first final, Reliance were the first to send the crowd into wild celebrations after scoring defender Fabakary Touray tap in from the penalty spot after a Reliance player was brought down within the penalty area. They were on the brink of clinching the trophy within the regulation time until a minute from the end when Mbemba Fatty rolled in a penalty to drew Red Star back on level terms. The match has risen to the occasion. With the two most outstanding teams currently in Gunjur facing each other at the most crucial point, that is not just a game but a battle for pride and superiority. Which eventually turned to be the case. The large crowd and the many dignitaries among who were, Ansumana Kinteh chairman of the Referees Association, Hon. Kebba K. Barrow majority leader National Assembly, Baba Galleh Jallow National Assembly Member, the management and staffs of the sponsors headed by Modou Jaiteh (Fred) general manager, to name but a few, is a clear justification that the final is the most attended game ever at Nyamina Field. To repeat the mistakes they made in the knock out final will be an unforgivable disaster, therefore coach Balla Jatta of Reliance opted to make three changes to the side that lost 4 - 1, with Mustapha Njie replacing Ebrima Demba in midfield while Yunus Jatta takes the position of Bubacarr Daffeh in between the frame and Ousman Suwaneh gets the place of the injured Yaya Touray.
In contrast Red Star's Bubacarr Kakai Bojang decided to keep faith with his knock out cup winning team, eventhough regular starter Mbemba Fatty who missed the first final due to suspension has been available but starts on the bench. Whatever Balla told his players during the pre-match instructing worked out perfectly as they prevents Red Star from implementing their heavy pressing and quick attacking tactics. Mustapha Njie, Sanna Jallow and Alasana Marong gave tough time to Red Star midfielders, while the pace and skills of Ousman Suwaneh and Bubacarr Janneh forced Red Star centre-backs to seat deep which cut the connection cable to their midfield as a result the creative Yusupha Barrow struggle to get the balls to the area of creativity where striker Saikou Chorr has been isolated for most part of his stay on the pitch. It was more of knocking the ball around, seeking for penetrations than putting more emphasise on the attack as a result chances came far and few in between. Reliance found the breakthrough goal in the closing stages of the first period after Fasanna Barrow clipped Alasana Marong from behind who seem certain of tapping into an empty net when keeper Lamin Jatta catch and drop a cross under his feet. Specialist Fabakary Touray took the penalty and send the keeper a wrong way.
After the break, everything seemed to be going to plan for Reliance until a minute from the end when Red Star were also awarded a penalty when Yusupha Touray brought down right back Sulayman Darboe for substitute Mbemba Fatty to keep his nerve and steer home the equalizer into the bottom left hand corner and sending Yunus Jatta running to his right. There was still little time, for substitutions. Red Star brought on three penalty specialist, while Reliance introduced keeper Bubacarr Daffeh their penalty saving hero, who once again proved the hero as he dive to save the first two spot kicks of Red Star from Sainey Gibba and Lamin Bojang to gave Yusupha Touray the chance to fire home the winning penalty. Reliance claimed the league prize at last since 2008, during which their performance have ranged from so-so to just plain lousy. They at last produced a consistent performance, one that is better enough to see them capture the biggest prize in what may well be veteran Alasana Marong's competitive game for the club. To Reliance the glory. At the very last it is fair for high spenders to be on top of Gunjur football. The Reliance didn't just go home with a giant trophy, twenty thousand dalasis and medals, but also the most discipline team and best fans award. While Green Vision also handed a surprise two thousand dalasis to Reliance supporters for being "impressed" with them.
Red Star FC received fifteen thousand dalasis runners up prize and medals. Red Star's Saikou Chorr wins the top scorers award, while Sanna Jallow of Reliance scoop Prince Emma's player of the tournament award. Certificates of appreciation and recognition were also handed out to people by Gunjur Sports Committee.