Maloney Eagles FC captured the Ascension Eastern Football Association (EFA) Premier Division $10,000 winner-take-all knockout crown after they overcame league champions La Horquetta XF 4-3 on penalty kicks following a 2-2 draw in regulation time at the Phase II La Horquetta Recreation Ground, La Horquetta on Sunday.
Former national player Nathan Lewis stunned the host when he fired Maloney ahead as early as the second minute, but Jamal Creighton hit back for La Horquetta in the 15th minute before another ex-national player Ataulla Guerra put the host ahead for the first in the 34th minute which they held until the half-time interval.
Within 13 minutes of the restart, Saleem Henry got Maloney back on level terms at 2-2 and despite the best efforts of both teams the match ended 2-2 at the end of regulation time, and in the shoot-out, Maloney held their nerves to come away with the victory, making amends for their runner-up finish in the league.
For Maloney, Henry, Joshua Alexander, Keron Clarke and Lewis all scored their attempts with Sean Bonval the lone player to miss while Creighton, Guerra and Tyrone Charles converted their attempts for La Horquetta with failed attempts coming from Aikim Andrews and Isaiah Lee.
In the semifinals a week earlier at the Maloney Recreation Ground, Maloney trashed Malabar FC 7-0 with Daniel Warner scoring a hattrick in the 29th, 31st, and 32nd minutes while Alexander, Bonval, Keston Williams, and Jadel Carter added one each.
In the second semifinal, La Horquetta XF twice came from behind to defeat Terminix Lighting 3-2 in their semifinal at the same venue on Wednesday.
For Terminix Lighting, national youth team striker Real Gill opened the scoring in the fourth minute, but the short-handed La Horquetta who only fielded 12 men for the contest drew level seven minutes later through Guerra, only for Leonardo Da Costa to restore Terminix Lighting’s lead in the 42nd minute for a 2-1 lead at the interval.
Ten minutes into the second half, Lee got La Horquetta on level terms for the second time in the contest before Guerra fired in the decisive item, his second of the match on the hour mark to book his teams’ place in Sunday’s final.
Last month, La Horquetta defeated Maloney Eagles FC 3-0 to claim the $25,000 league top prize ahead with 21 points from nine matches while Maloney finished in the second spot, two points behind the winners for $15,000, with Bon Air FC securing the $10,000 for third ahead of Malabar FC on goal-difference after both teams ended with 18 points each.