British International School, Cairo, scored a dramatic extra-time winner in an enthralling final against hosts, BSAK, at the BSME Under-13 Football Tournament.
The Egyptian’s got off to a flying start, with Player of the Tournament, Hamza Hassanein, opening the scoring after seven minutes. That sparked BSAK into life, with speed-merchant, Timi Esan, threatening on several occasions before half-time.
For all the host team's pressure, BISC's defence stood firm, with Team Captain Basil and Soloman Mettawaa looking assured in defence and composed in possession.
Half-Time: BSAK 0 – 1 BISC
The second-half continued in the same manner that the first ended, with BSAK pressing and probing desperately for the goal that would get them back into the match.
With time ebbing away, the BSAK players' frustration was increasingly palpable, but still they pressed. Deep into injury time, their talisman, Timi Esan, picked the ball up inside his own half, ghosting by two BISC players before playing a neat one-two to find himself in front of goal with seemingly only the 'keeper to beat. However, again it was Captain Basil who thwarted the attack – getting a vital toe in to deflect the shot inches wide of the goalkeeper’s left hand post.
BSAK knew it was time to throw the kitchen sink at it, and that they duly did – beckoning Goalkeeper, Charlie Collings, up for the last-gasp corner. As the ball was swung in from the right, the towering 'keeper rose like a salmon to thunder a header into the bottom corner of the net, sparking wild celebrations and pitch invasions from the BSAK substitutes. Whatever else happens in Collings' career, this will undoubtedly be a moment that goes down in BSME Games' history.
Full-Time: BSAK 1 – 1 BISC
As the devastated BISC players trudged back to their dugout, it seemed to all in the stands that there could only possibly be one winner. Whatever the BISC coaching staff said to their players could be bottled and sold for millions, as BISC returned to the pitch like a side reborn.
Composed and confident on the ball, BISC looked fresh, sharp, and full of running. Midway through the extra-time period, the men in green broke with pace, driving at the heart of the BSAK defence. With two pin-point passes, the ball found its way once again to the mercurial Hassanein, who knocked it out of his feet before rifling a left-footed shot across Collings and into the bottom corner. Unsurprisingly, this led to more wild celebrations, this time for the men from Cairo, as well as rapturous applause from the on looking fans.
BSAK gave it their all for the final 4 minutes, with the impressive Josh Birkwood a hairs-breadth from threading the needle through to his team-mate in the final seconds. As hard as BSAK fought, it was not to be their day, and they had to make do with second place.
The boys’ disappoint will be offset by the fact that the hosts sit top of the points table overall, after back to back victories for the girls in both football and netball. Next up for the teams on the evening of day 2 is athletics…stay tuned to Gulf Youth Sport for news, highlights and reactions!
1st place: British International School, Cairo
2nd place: British School Al Khubairat
3rd place: British International School, Jeddah
Player of the Tournament
Hamza Hassanein, British International School, Cairo
Fair Play Award
British School, Muscat