Super Shu to the rescue

Atletico glorious in victory.

Coming out of the start of a bad season must have been extremely hard for Atletico, but the team’s most recent victory on Monday will be a massive confidence booster.

In a game that weighted the opposition heavily against them, Atletico faced the bulldozing Madadeni Boys in the finals of the Newcastle Court Soccer Association (NCSA) Knock-out Cup.

Both teams played exceptionally well to reach the finals from the start of the tournament.

Madadeni Boys faced rivals, Al-Ahly and Stucky Zentih in the team’s quarter final and semi-final games respectively.

The Al-Ahly and Madadeni Boys match up was superb, and many considered the game, ‘the final before the final’. Madadeni Boys drew first blood by knocking in the first goal, before Al-Ahly equalised and then took the lead.

Madadeni Boys retaliated by equalising and also knocking it one more at the start of the second half. Al-Ahly’s players threw their hearts and souls into the game, and with two minutes left on the clock, they managed to net in the equaliser. The final whistle blew soon after, thus beginning the penalty shootout.

Madadeni Boys managed to score each of their penalties, and although the team won the game, Al-Ahly earned the undying respect of Madadeni Boys.

Madadeni Boys’ semi-final match against Stucky Zenith was also greatly anticipated and certainly lived up to the billing. The intensity of the game was something many fans had not seen before, with Zenith pushing hard at every opportunity. Goals flew in at both ends of the field, but in the end it was Madadeni Boys who walked off the field victorious with the score reading four-three.

On the other end of the field, Atletico made easy work of most of its opposition leading to the finals.

The road to the finals for Atletico was one the team will definitely remember.

The final was packed with intensity. Both teams were not willing to drop their footholds in the match.

Madadeni Boys had a few scares in the first half, but did not concede any goals. However, brilliant goal keeping from Shuaib ‘Shu’ Ebrahim of Atletico meant his team did not fall behind at all in the first half.

Both teams knew a nil-nil score-line at halftime was not one they could see to the end of the game, and came out of their respective sides fists flying.

It was the Goliath that is Madadeni Boys that drew first blood as they threw men into a full-blown attack as the game restarted.

Five minutes into the second half and they were in the lead one-nil.

But Atletico never faltered. Patiently, they waited. Defending and retaliating. Chipping slowly at the armour of Madadeni Boys, before finding that weakness, a momentary lapse of mind and Atletico equalised.

The goal was simply astonishing. Star mid-fielder, Themba, back on form this time around, skipped the usual corner routine and struck the ball from the corner flag. His reward was finding the back of the net when his spectacular shot crashed into the top corner of the goal.

His goal could not have come at a better time, as the final whistle blew within minutes of his celebrations.

Once again it fell to Themba to put the ball into the back of the net as he took the first penalty. Brilliantly he crashed it into the top right corner.

The follow-up strike from his opponents crashed against the bar, but Shuaib had it covered the entire way.

The experienced Husain Sarang stood up for Atletico next. Placed in this position a number of times, Husain calmly tucked the ball out of the keeper’s reach.

Once again, Shuaib was called up for his side. Having had a stellar performance throughout the game, his confidence was high. His skills matched up, when he managed to push the ball out of the mouth of the goal, onto the upright and out of the danger zone, securing Atletico’s first piece of silverware for the season.

His valiant efforts earned him the match ball, and the admiration of all his team mates.

Every so often an underdog triumphs. For Atletico this triumph may be the boost it needs to ensure the team keeps it spot in the A League, while also giving the team a deserved win for players undoubtedly passionate about their side.

Talha Randeree

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