An International midfielder barrels down the sideline, retaining possession, but is quickly hunted down by a CRG FC player in Sunday's soccer match at Prime Ministers' Park. Herald photo by Gary Pearson
--PRINCE ALBERT-- International avenged their mid-week defeat by putting CRG FC to the sword in a 3-0 victory in last evening's soccer fixture at Prime Ministers' Park.
Having a gusty wind behind at their back, CRG started the match in the ascendancy with some wonderful possession.
The early territorial advantage, however, led to little in the way of clear-cut opportunities. Any aerial attack proved futile, especially for International, as the wind was an influential factor over the course of the match.
The first real chance went to International as an inadvertent cross-turned shot surprised CRG's keeper, who crept marginally off his near post. But he was able to dive back from where he came, making the acrobatic save.
Five minutes later, CRG's keeper was once again called upon to make a diving stop, which he was only able to parry to an oncoming International attacker, whose attempted rebound was sliced badly wide.
It was then CRG's turn to surge forward. If a delicate chip from 20 yards descended fractions earlier, CRG would have had the game's opener. Minutes later, CRG's centre-back - as the team's last man - committed a cardinal sin by trying to beat a player, which would have been punished if not for his keepers' splendid breakaway save.
Chances were hard to come by and weather contributed to a scrappy, goalless first half. Not having capitalized with the wind at their back would prove costly for CRG, whose chances of winning the match diminished with the half-time whistle.
International striker, Richard Leberio was happy with his team's first-half performance.
"We had two for almost sure goals in the first half," said 23-year-old International striker Leberio. "We had a handle on it but for the wind."
A contentious moment in the 47th minute stirred emotions on both sides, as striker Leberio kicked out at a CRG defender. If the controversial moment hadn't gone unnoticed by the match official, Leberio could have found himself in the referee's notebook. Leberio, International's talisman, opened the account for his team in the 52nd minute, after beating CRG's offside trap and slipping the ball confidently into the bottom right corner.
"Today we played as a team," said Leberio. "Sometimes we use our own skills too much."
Leberio is one of the league's top-scoring forwards and exemplified why, tucking away his second in the 64th minute in composed and deliberate fashion.
CRG found a glimpse of hope minutes later but were thwarted by International's keeper, who conjured up saves when called upon. That was the last chance CRG had to creep back into the affair.
And with 10 minutes to play, International punished CRG's slack defending to make the final 3-0. Leberio was unlucky not to pot his hat-trick goal, denied only by the woodwork.
But his teammate, Lu Has Doh, was there to devour the leftovers. Gabriel Vargas, 20, plays in the midfield for CRG and said the ball wasn't up to standard and the adverse weather conditions made life difficult.
"It was too windy," said the midfielder.
His 16-year-old midfield partner, Jorge Saavedra, said even though conditions weren't desirable, his team didn't play well enough to win.
"They had a little bit too much speed," he said. "Our ball control wasn't there."
CRG communicates in Spanish on the pitch, as most of the team is of Colombian descent. It was only their second lost of the campaign, so some semblance of solace can be carried forward into their mid-week fixture versus Dos Equis FC.
International played a second half indicative of a team hungry to avenge their last defeat, which was at the hands of FC GNP.
GNP won their match on the other field at Prime Ministers' Park versus SXC FC, leaving them near the top of the table.
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