During half time I just told the lads I’m happy with how it’s gone and I told the front 2 to keep pressuring the keeper, he’s not having his best day
In the games with Britannia in the league, we’d beaten them twice and they’d got wins over us twice, so the 2 legged Grand Final would see who was the better team that season and the overall champions of Aruba.
We started off strongly in the opening stages, even grabbing a goal to settle us and take control of the game. A low cross came in from the right which we thundered home. We held on to the half with that 1 goal advantage.
We kept it up in the second and doubled the lead, but let Britannia back in to the tie conceding a sloppy goal but they never did much else in the game and we took a 2-1 advantage into the second leg
The second leg was only 2 days after the first, so we didn’t have much time to reflect on the first leg win, and instead had a days rest. We set up the same as in the second as we did in the first leg, I didn’t want to change a winning side.
As noted earlier in my memoirs, you always remember your first of everything, and this game was no different. This is one that sticks in my mind vividly. As soon as the ref blew his whistle to start the game, I knew. I knew as soon as we had the ball in those opening few moments of the game, I knew we were going to win it. We passed the ball about like it was a training session and literally everything we did came off.
Around 20 minutes into it we had the ball in the back of the net, and that’s when I knew this is it for us. We’d had a couple of shots at this point but the keeper was equal to everything our players threw at him, except he wasn’t equal to what his own team sent his way.
Another long ball was nodded back to us, which we responded by dinking it back towards goal. We had no one in an onside position and the defender headed back to his keeper who wasn’t anywhere near the ball. Everyone looked on as the ball sort of drifted into the empty net. 1-0 to use on the day, 3-1 on aggregate.
The goal just about sealed the match for us. I thought if we carried on pressuring them we’ll get the win without any fuss. Their keeper was all over the place, he didn’t look confident at all and their back line were out of sync even for a low level team in a small league like this. Any crosses that came in the keeper missed catching them, when he rushed off his line he hesitated, I told the team to put pressure on by not allowing short goal kicks. We got to half time by playing for most of the game in their half, with only 1 goal, but 3 on aggregate
During half time I just told the lads I’m happy with how it’s gone and I told the front 2 to keep pressuring the keeper, he’s not having his best day, and the defence really hadn’t had much to do up until that point. From the first whistle to the last in the second, we never looked like losing this one. We added another goal with just over 20 to play and that was it done and dusted, we were crowned, quite rightly so, Aruban Premier League champions, which is the clubs first ever trophy!
Winning this league obviously isn’t that big a deal outside of Aruba and I felt, selfishly, that we wouldn’t win it again, and that it was probably down to beginners luck, which is why I’d made the decision to leave the club on a high shortly after the final game.
It wouldn’t be long before I was back in a job however.
Next chapter – Almost perfect – Rykers tale chapter 4
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