Brentford 4-4 Club America De Mexico (America win 6-5 on penalties), Scroggy Road, Limavady. Milk Cup Globe semi-final.
Brentford and Club America were desperately unlucky to miss out reaching the Milk Cup Premier finals, both showed their class as they played out an eight goal thriller that resulted in a penalty shout-out going the way of the Mexican side.
Brentford built up a comfortable-looking two goal lead before the Mexicans clawed back to 2-2, deservedly. Brentford were the superior team despite both sides demonstrating some excellent finishing prowess before the hour mark. The English side again opened up a two goal lead, only for Club America to once again stage a dramatic fight-back to take the game to penalties.
The opening ten minutes was an open affair, indicative of the game as a whole.. Brentford had perhaps the better of the play and came closest to scoring when Reece Cole’s free-kick curled around the wall and Erick Rojas had to tip round the post.
Brentford broke the deadlock on 18 minutes. Danny Parish burst down the left side and played in Bradley Clayton who despite two Mexican defenders on his back he managed to delicately chip the on-rushing Rojas.
Brentford doubled their lead just minutes later. Cole found space 20 yards out and stuck a low drive into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal. Rojas got his fingertips to it but was unable to prevent it from going in.
Club America came close to scoring on a couple of occasions but their final shot continued to let them down, but the threat was there.
Minutes later, The Mexicans found a way back into the game. Skillful forward Gustavo Flores found space in the box, he shimmied and then smashed the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal.
Club America struck level fifteen minutes into the second period in superb fashion. A well-worked low corner saw two Mexican defenders jump over the ball before Brandon Garcia struck the ball with real venom into the left corner.
The goal stunned the English side and they nearly went behind as the Mexicans broke minutes later and Francisco Reyes saw his thunderous effort smashed the crossbar and went out.
Despite the Mexicans being in the ascendancy, it was Brentford who took the lead. Courtney Senior made a marauding run from the halfway line, he was brought down in cynical fashion inside the box. Reece Cole stepped up and dispatched the penalty with ease.
Brentford extended their lead five minutes later. Substitute striker Courtney Austin’s physical presence was key in the goal. He turned well before making a powerful run into box and then laying the ball onto Clayton, who showed composure to slot home his second and Brentford’s fourth goal of the game.
America stunned their opponents as they again staged a dramatic turnaround. First, Reyes tapped home from another superb set-piece play, this time a free-kick straight to Reyes’ feet.
Then, in the dying seconds the team from Mexico again drew level. The Brentford players were desperate to keep their lead but the sheer perseverance of the Mexican side paid off as Jose Tapia was able to scramble the ball over the line following a goal-mouth scramble.
The penalty shoot-out was as dramatic as the match itself, with both sides taking 8 penalties before Mario Gomzalez scored the decisive kick after Brentford’s Chris Mepham saw his spot-kick saved.
It was a dramatic game down at Scroggy road which could have easily gone in either sides’ favour but it is Club America who process to the Globe Final.
Brentford: Cameron Greaves, Tom Field, Audrius Laucys, Courtney Senior, Reece Cole, Bradley Clayton, Seika Jatta, Jeremiah Kamanzi, Danny Parish, Herson Alves, George Harmes.
Club America: Erik Garcia, Edson Velazquez, Eduarth Munoz, Antonio Munoz, Antonio Amenabar, Mario Gonzalez, Rodolfo Hernandez, Jose Tapia, Francisco Reyes, Julio Villa, Gustavo Flores, Brandon Garcia
By John Owen