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Football: Transitional league – Division one |31 May 2019

Ten-man St Michel cancel out Red Star Defence Forces

Ten-man St Michel shared the spoils with Red Star Defence Forces in a 1-1 draw at Stad Linite on Wednesday evening in a first division Transitional league match.

This rescheduled match was a fiercely contested affair marred by some controversial decisions by referee Emile Fred with Red Star Defence Forces testing goalkeeper Jalyl Servina in the 11th minute from Malagasy Clariel’s rasping shot from the edge of the penalty area but the St Michel goalkeeper was equal to the task.

St Michel went even closer three minutes later from Malagasy captain Hassan Aly’s free kick which crashed against the crossbar and the ball fell to defender Nigel Hoareau whose header came off Laurel Ladouce with St Michel appealing for a penalty for handball but their request was turned down by the official.

Red Star Defence Forces then had two gilt-edge opportunities. Firstly in the 27th minute when Malagasy captain Michel Nambintsoa’s cross was cleared to Barry Marie who adjusted himself and his fierce drive crashed against the foot of the post.

On the half hour mark, captain Nambintsoa pounced on a loose ball to fire a thumping shot which bounced back off the post with goalkeeper Servina well beaten as St Michel rode their luck.

St Michel though broke the deadlock in the 38th minute rather controversially when referee Emile Fred blew for a not-so-clear handball by Malagasy Clariel and captain Aly took the free kick which he rifled past goalkeeper Japhet Bijoux who was badly positioned for a 1-0 lead.

St Michel though suffered a major setback in the 42nd minute when defender Ramely Pascal was shown a second yellow card for a foul on captain Nambintsoa three minutes after receiving his first yellow card for a high foot tackle though his sending off was rather harsh as the record league winners retained their lead at 1-0 at half-time.

St Michel reshuffled their pack as they sent on Antonio Ratafina and Alvin Larue for Jean-Claude Berlouis and Yannick Julie while Malagasy Francis dropped deep in midfield in a second half where the players of coach Nigel Moustache were in control despite being a player short.

In the 49th minute, captain Aly rolled the ball into the path of Francis who from 30 metres out unleashed a blistering shot which goalkeeper Bijoux saved at the second attempt.

Red Star Defence Forces were very lucky not to have defender Michel Souris sent off in the 50th minute as he intentionally pulled down Norris Bibi who had outwitted him to bore on goal and he committed a professional foul but referee Fred was very lenient to dish out only a yellow card.

From the resulting free kick, Aly rifled it at goalkeeper Bijoux who spilled the ball but Larue could not bury home the loose ball.

Marcus Maria wasted a decent chance for Red Star Defence Forces who struggled to find their rhythm when in the 57th minute, Ernesto Doway’s corner kick was cleared to him but he drilled the ball over the bar from inside the penalty area.

Controversy loomed large in the 69th minute when referee Fred failed to blow for a blatant foul on Evariste who was floored and in the mêlée Norris Bibi also was on the floor but the referee still did not stop play, a decision which really infuriated the St Michel bench who showed their disgust with the official when he finally stopped play to talk to the three coaches before calm was restored.

At the other end in the 75th minute, Red Star Defence Forces went mighty close to level the score from Souris’ lofted ball in the St Michel penalty area to Malagasy striker Jean-Baptistes at the near post whose glancing header was pushed out but the hanging ball was headed goal wards by captain Nambintsoa only for Francis to clear the danger on the goalline.

Two minutes later, St Michel should have stretched their lead as Malagasy Evariste combined with Alvin Larue to open up the army team’s defence but the former Revengers forward blazed his shot over the crossbar from a good scoring position.

Red Star Defence Forces were given a lifeline in the 78th minute when referee Fred adjudged that Travis Quatre had brought down Jean Baptiste who went down from a tackle in a heap and he pointed to the penalty spot.

Former Northern Dynamo striker Marcus Maria stepped up for the spot kick and he sent goalkeeper Servina the wrong way to level the score at 1-1.

On the stroke of fulltime, St Michel’s two substitutes – Ratafina and Larue – exchanged passes to bore on goal but defender Souris body-checked Ratafina’s progress on goal and again the official only awarded a free kick without issuing a second yellow to the defender which really did not go down well with St Michel manager Andrew Jean-Louis at the final whistle of this 1-1 result as he questioned the integrity of the official who he felt had blatantly denied his team a deserved victory.

“We are extremely disappointed with the referee who denied us a victory in a match where we played well but it seems the official was keen for us not to win and I even wonder how many fouls a player can commit before he is sent off whereas we had a player expulsed for two fouls which is very unfair and it shows the officiating was biased and it’s unfortunate as we controlled the second half despite a man disadvantaged and therefore I must congratulate the players on this good performance,” manager Jean-Louis told Sports NATION.

As for Red Star Defence Forces coach Nigel Freminot, he was unhappy with the level of commitment of his players during this match.

“We lacked the hunger and determination to win this match and did not take advantage of our superiority in numbers on the pitch but we only showed glimpses in the last 15 minutes but at least we avoided defeat and I would like to praise the players for this effort,” coach Freminot said.


R. J-L.

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