Reliance F.C won their first title in eight years, beating Red Star F.C four goals to one in a penalty shoot-out
 
05 July, 2017.  By Famara Badjie
 
DAFFEH IS SPOT ON AS…
 
Goalkeeper Bubacarr Daffeh was the star of the show as Reliance F.C won their first title in eight years, beating Red Star F.C 4 – 1 in a penalty shoot-out to claim the Green Vision Sponsored Gunjur “nawettan” league cup.
 
After a one all draw in normal time, Daffeh saved two spot kicks to hand his side an easy route in penalties in a match played on July 1st 2017.
 
Reliance first went ahead through defender Fabakary Touray from the spot just before half time and it seemed a route was on the card, not until a minute from the end when the fourth official was about to raise the added time board did Reliance concede a penalty and Mbemba Fatty level matters for Red Star.
 
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 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 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 in front of such crowd, will be an unforgivable disaster, therefore coach Balla Jatta of Reliance opted to make three changes to the side that lost 4 – 1 to the same opponent in the Knock out cup final, 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, even though 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 talks 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 after 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 award a penalty as 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 with Yunus Jatta running to his right.
 
There was still little time, for substitutions as lot of players crowded on the fourth official table and referee Ali Sowe allowed all changes to be effected. 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 spit kicks of Red Star from Sainey Gibba and Lamin Bojang to gave Yusupha Touray the chance to fire home the winning penalty.
 
To Reliance the glory. At the very last it was fair for high spenders to be on top of Gunjur.
 
The triumph means Reliance are the lucky team to have won the most furnish league trophies in Gunjur ‘nawettan”. First the Western Union sponsored Nawettan in 2008 and again Green Vision Sponsored league cup.
 
Reliance doesn’t just went 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. 
 
While Red Star received fifteen thousand dalasis runners up prize and medals.
 
Coach Bubacarr Kakai Bojang of Red Star won the best coach award.
 
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 the deserving people by Gunjur Sports Committee.
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