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Avenues United Avenues United defeats Leo Victors, 3-1

Avenues United Avenues United defeats Leo Victors, 3-1

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Avenues United has advanced to the next phase of the Caribbean Football Union Qualifiers of the CONCACAF Club Championships.{{more}}

The local champions pulled out all the stops and played out of their skins last Tuesday night at the Victoria Park when it mattered most.

Down and counted out by many, Avenues, the 2009/2010 National Lotteries Authority National Club Champions, produced their best showing, when they downed the much-fancied Leo Victor of Suriname, 3-1, in a game they needed maximum points.

Re-energised after being humiliated six goals to nil on Sunday night by eventual Group C winners Joe Public of Trinidad and Tobago, Avenues started their final encounter with a sense of purpose.

The locals took the lead through a beautiful left footed shot from Myron Samuel, after the 17-year-old had turned his marker, leaving him for dead, then deposited the ball into the top right corner of the goal in the 21st minute.

It was the first time that Avenues was enjoying a lead, having had to come from behind on Friday night to eke out a 2-2 draw against the Devonshire Cougars in their opening salvo.

But, the usual lapses in marking that had been their downfall allowed Roche Emanuelson to unleash a rasping right-footed shot that equalised for the Surinamese in the 31st minute to finish the half one goal apiece.

With the game on, neither of the teams was prepared to give any quarters, but the visitors looked the more threatening , as their midfielders made good of gaps left by the Avenues players. However, stout defending and timely interventions by Goalkeeper Dwaine Sandy kept the scoreline level pegging.

Against the run of play, Romano Snagg received a pass of surgical precision from Damal Francis in the 66th minute, to neatly slip the pass through an advancing Virbian Walker in the Leo Victor’s goal.

But the cutting edge of the Leo Victor outfit did not relent, and several forays were made on the Avenues goal, despite some tactical and personnel changes made by the Avenues technical team. Again, though, Sandy between the uprights maintained his high standards and ensured his club remained in the ascendancy.

Samuel closed the encounter with a goal in injury time when he got by his opponents to again elude Walker, sending the smallest crowd that had assembled at the Victoria Park for the three days of competition into a frenzy.

“We played better tonight than we played Sunday against Joe Public,” was the immediate reaction of Avenues’ stand-in coach, Sammy Carrington when he spoke to SEARCHLIGHT.

“We started with a 3-5-2 formation, and it worked, as we got a goal from it,” Carrington added.

Joining in the elation was Avenues’ Manager Marvin Fraser who said that the club’s advancement was a good feeling for their community and the country as a whole.

“I feel proud. It is burden off our shoulder,” Fraser said.

Recounting the lead up to last Tuesday’s match, Fraser said that a motivational speech by Dr. Jules Ferdinand helped in building self belief.

“The players covered the spaces, what we were not doing against Joe Public, and we told them that nothing but excellence will do tonight,” Fraser stated with delight.

Joe Public earlier in the night that was stretched by a power outage at the half time break that lasted about 50 minutes powered past Bermuda’s Devonshire Cougars, blasting them 8-2, with Hayden Tinto and Conrad Smith both registering braces.

Joe Public also beat Leo Victor on Friday , 4-3, with Leo Victor recording a 5-2 triumph over the Cougars on Sunday.

According to the format, Avenues will head to Puerto Rico to face off with Tempete FC of Haiti and the winner of Group B, which is yet to be decided, while Joe Public plays in the other pool at home. The second phase of the competition is set for April 13 to 17.

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