Milano United may have won this year’s Strandfontein under-13 Tournament By The Sea, but it was Avendale Athletico that had the most supporters on the edge of their seats, with their enterprising brand of football, at the weekend.
The Kewtown-based side went as far as the plate final, before losing 3-2 against FN Rangers, on Sunday March 26.
In an exciting plate final encounter, played in front of a sizable crowd, the Avendale side made their intentions clear in the early stages of the match. They were soon rewarded when they scored two early goals, first from a penalty spot which was converted by Aphelele Madolwana. Asisipho Gqadushe made it 2-0, five minutes later, following some excellent individual play by Relebukile Leohla.
The action, at this point, was coming at a fast and furious pace, with Rangers pulling one back just seconds from the replay. The sides went to the break with the scores at 2-1. It was end-to-end stuff, until the referee blew the whistle for the halftime break.
The second half started at the same pace, with the Rangers side searching for the equaliser. Avendale, on the other side, were on a mission of their own, trying to increase their lead.
It was, however, Rangers who drew first blood in the second half, getting their second goal to complete their comeback.
The equaliser boosted the confidence levels of the Maitland-based side’s players.
Avendale, on the other hand, fought hard to regain their lead but their opponents defence refused to budge. Rangers went on to find their third goal, ending the exciting match with the scoreline at 3-2 in their favour.
Avendale had a dream start to the campaign, beating Strandfontein’s B side 8-1 in their opener.
The side, however, stumbled when they were unable to hold on to their 1-0 first half lead to lose 2-1 against eventual semi finalists MPCE Academy in their second match. That defeat saw them taking part in the plate section of the competition.
With the intention of ending the tournament on a high, Avondale were clearly in no giving mood when their took on Mitchell’s Plain’s Morgenster United in the plate quarter-final.
That victory saw them having a date with Valencia in the semi-final. With their stingy defence holding the fort at the back, Avendale were able to beat their opponents 1-0 to set a date in the final against an equally impressive FN Rangers side.
Avendale coach Veron Peter said his side played well but luck was not on their side. He said that showed how tough the competition was out there, with every team coming well-prepared. He said the game against Rangers was exciting to watch as his players put their opponents under a lot of pressure, especially in the first half.
“After scoring two early goals, we conceded a silly goal and went into halftime 2-1 up but things changed as our boys were struggling because of being tired.
“That resulted in them giving the opposition some more strength, which saw them finish the game 3-2 winners. Having said that, our boys really played some nice football wich saw them winning a lot of supporters. Now they are well known, thanks to the football they dished out at the weekend,” he said.