Playing without goal-getter George Jikpamu and having a porous defense yesterday, APM Terminators FC were beaten 4-2 by Relief FC of St. Paul Bridge at the NPA sports pitch in a friendly soccer match.
Though Relief FC had expected to play against an NPA select side, they agreed to manage issues with APM Terminators, and saw their chances improving, despite the initial balanced exchanges between the two teams.
Under Coach Ricardo Gomez, formerly of Monrovia Breweries FC, Relief FC showed much purpose in their ball handlings in a match where the tension rose slowly from the start.
Both teams were sizing each other up and took liberties hitting one-touch passes to teammates. But Relief FC showed some seriousness and kept the pressure on their opponents, forcing their goalkeeper to work overtime, with daring saves.
Perhaps aware of the absence of several of their dependable players, APM Terminators did not show much ambition like their opponents, and simply played as if their honor was not at stake.
By the 10th minute, Relief FC had forced their host to worry over their defense and APM Terminators resorted to miscalculations in their passes as they struggled to meet the challenge posed by Relief FC, who seemed to have more stamina in their work rate.
The seesaw battle continued for the next 30 minutes and it was clear that some bodies were getting tired, and so it came as no surprise that 13 minutes later Relief FC’s defender Gabriel Torlie connected a corner-kick for the opener.
Until now Relief FC’s goalkeeper had not been tested because APM Terminators seemed settled with their fate, without any apparent strategy to play and win the game. They engaged in short passes, with no designs to go beyond their opponents’ 18 yard box.
By the end of the first half it was clear that many APM Terminators were out of breath and needed replacement, even though they held on.
Back from recess, luck smiled on APM Terminators as striker Sullivan Doeblah received a pass from Eric Lee to get the equalizer from a corner-kick rebound that Relief FC’s goalkeeper failed to catch one time.
APM Terminators were in a rejoicing mode when Relief FC’s defender Gabriel Torli struck again, following a beautiful combination with his men upfront to lead 2-1.
From here on it was all Relief FC’s affair with their host fighting to reduce the attack. Eventually, Abraham Nelson increased the tally to 3-1; Samuel Sanu made it 4-1, with the host simply struggling along.
Visibly tired and unable to move around the pitch, APM Terminators’ Ibe Sam Ukegbu, against the run of play, received a beautiful pass from an equally exhausted Eric Lee to get goal number two, but then it was too late.