Wellington Olympic kept their nerve in a tense penalty shoot-out to beat Fencibles United in the final of the national U-19s men’s main tournament at Napier on Labour Monday.
The sides were locked 1-1 after playing extra time, and both sides missed two penalties in the set of five used to try to separate them.
It went to sudden death and Fencibles missed, prompting a pitch celebration by the joyous Olympic players.
Main photo: Olympic players celebrate after a Fencibles miss from the penalty spot gives the Wellington side victory.
It was hard luck for Fencibles who had won their way through to the final with penalty shoot-out wins in both their quarter-final and semi-final.
After a scoreless first half, in which neither side had any clear chances, Nathan Walker put Fencibles United ahead in the 40th minute.
Fencibles had patiently built play and put Walker into the box, with space. He took the chance well, firing his shot into the net from an angle.
Olympic didn’t panic and focussed on holding possession, to make Fencibles work.
Their patience paid off when they levelled in the 63rd minute through Sam Wall whose shot from the edge of the area took a deflection and went into the net.
The referee blew for full-time, forcing a period of extra time for two sides that had played five group games, two knock-out games and a 70-minute grand final, all in three days.
Stamina and courage were going to be just as important as skill, going into extra time.
Both sides ran to a near-standstill, giving their all before the referee ended the outfield play and called for the final to be decided from the penalty spot.
The three-day annual tournament was successfully hosted by Napier City Rovers.
Game played on Monday October 24, 2022
Wellington Olympic 1 (Sam Wall 63′)
Fencibles United 1 (Nathan Walker 40′)
Olympic won penalty shoot-out 4-3 after extra time.
Watch the final stream
More about the tournament
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