Hello and welcome to the semi-finals. We started out with 20 but we’re now down to just four competitors. There’ll only be the two games today as a result. Firstly, Sporting Po-Taitos will host Glipton Grasshoppers. As both sides had a home quarter final, their overall tournament goal difference has been used to decide who gets the home fixture and that’s good news for Rob. In the second semi, Rostance Rovers will host Bells United. Tom came through an away quarter final to earn himself a home tie with the tournament’s only 100% record.
Let’s get it on.
Sporting Po-Taitos vs Glipton Grasshoppers
Rob’s team has looked strong throughout the tournament and despite one off day, he still comfortably qualified for the last 8. His quarter final victory was a typically goal laden affair, this formation combined with the options available to him usually means a hatful of goals.
Sid has changed to this formation and Alan Shearer has been the main benefactor. He’s got seven goals in two games and will presumably hold the key to any further advancing that Glipton Grasshoppers do.
Here we go then. Words below.
The first half saw both teams go in search of a break in the deadlock. Thanks to the form of both goalkeepers it was 0-0 at the break, though Glipton did lose Celestine Babayaro to injury.
The game came to life in the 53rd minute when Mark Iuliano was dismissed for deliberate handball. That put Sporting Po-Taitos on the back foot and Glipton Grasshoppers took advantage on 60 minutes when Bjarne Goldbaek rammed home from a corner. Chances to further extend the lead came and went and Sid’s men were made to pay when Martin Djetou bundled Enrico Chiesa to the floor and a penalty was awarded. Djetou was sent off, Del Piero equalised and the home team had the remaining 20 minutes to find a winner.
On 84 minutes they did just that as Del Piero notched his second and then the unlikely figure of Christian Ziege made it 3-1 in the dying moments.
A frantic last 18 minutes sees Rob advance to the final. At a goal and a man down, they looked in great danger of semi-final heartbreak but Martin Djetou got sent off and ruined it for Sid.
Who will Rob face in the final though?
Rostance Rovers vs Bells United
Both sides had a full bill of health so Tom stuck with the team that defeated Boca Seniors away in the previous round.
Likewise Ross had everybody available and with his 100% record still intact, he also opted to stick with the same team.
Here’s the second video. Please note the recording cut out between the 39th minute and half time but you missed nothing.
Tom started well but this was a cagey encounter with few clear cut chances. Then, against the run of play, Hasselbaink opened the scoring for Bells United after Bakayoko was denied with his initial effort.
Tom needed a response and eventually it came. Despite the manager preparing a substitution, Florian Maurice took aim from 30 yards, Barthez could only parry and Salas pounced to level the contest up. A grand stand final 20 minutes saw chances for both sides but with the game about to drift towards a replay at the home of Bells United, there was a timely intervention. Hasselbaink played through Bakayoko and he kept his cool to send Bells United into the final.
Bells scored both of their shots on target, a far cry from the Tim Flowers heroics of the quarter finals.
So then we have our final. Sporting Po-Taitos vs Bells United. See you on Sunday!