9 Nana Budds (Eng)




Cruz Del Surely (Eng)

L'Albiceleste (Fra)




Cruz Del Sur (Eng)

* 9 Nana Budds (Eng) won 4-3 on penalties.

We were at the 2018 Algarve Open Semi-Final stage and from the 16 teams who signed up we were down to the final 4. We had 1 French team and 3 English teams all still in the hunt for glory.

Up first was Cruz Del Surely versus 9 Nana Budds. Cruz Del Surely were one of two teams from Cruz Del Sur and the possibility of an all Cruz Del Sur was very real. We had seen teams from the same club/group appear in a Plate Final before but never in a Cup Final so history potentially beckoned.

Cruz Del Surely had a fine record today with 6 wins, 1 draw and just 1 defeat. They had scored 11 goals for the loss of just 1. It therefore looked to be a tough prospect for 9 Nana Budds. 9 Nana Budds had 3 wins 2 draws and 3 defeats from their 8 games they had scored 9 goals and conceded 6.

If you look at those numbers then Cruz Del Surely would probably have the better odds of reaching the Cup Final. On the field of play though there was nothing to separate the two teams. The sides reached half-time all square at 0-0. We then got to full-time and we were still level at 0-0. Penalties would be required.

Cruz Del Surely didn't have a great record in penalty shoot outs in our tournaments. Their record read played 2, lost 2.

Riga Tournament 2016: Trophy QF, Cruz Del Sur B lost 2-1 to One Calamski

Algarve Open 2018: Cup Semi-Final. Cruz Del Surely lost 4-3 to 9 Nana Budds

9 Nana Budds had also been involved in 2 shoot-outs. They had won 1, lost 1 but crucially (maybe) that winning shoot-out was earlier today.

2015 Berlin Fives: Plate Semi-Final, Lost 3-2 to Rayford Athletic.

2018 Algarve Open: Cup Quarter-Final, Won 5-4 versus Lacey Green FC

There were some great penalties on show today and after the first 3 rounds of penalties we were level at 3-3. We would go into sudden death. This proved immediately decisive with 9 Nana Budds converting their spot-kick, Cruz Del Surely missed theirs. The prospect of an all Cruz Del Sur final was over. 9 Nana Budds marched on.


So, who would take their place in the Final from the second Semi-Final? The two teams set to do battle were L'Albiceleste against Cruz Del Sur.

L'Albiceleste would arguably be favourites based on the statistics and history over the years. The French team had a 100% record in Cup Semi-Finals played 3, won 3. Today their record read played 8, won 8. They had scored 15 goals and conceded just 1. They had also beaten the Cruz Del Surely team 1-0 today.

Cruz Del Sur were in the Cup Semi-Finals for the second time and aiming to reach their first Cup Final. There seemed to be a growing momentum with Cruz Del Sur each year as they got closer and closer to a title. They were unbeaten today with 4 wins and 4 draws from their 8 games. They had scored 8 with just the 1 conceded.

The two defences had identical records but L'Albiceleste seemed to have the greater firepower up front (if stats are to be believed) so could this be where the game was won or lost.

These two teams could have met at the 2016 Riga Tournament in the Cup Semi-Final. If Cruz Del Sur had beaten FC Dad then they would have come head to head on that occasion. It was not to be as L'Albiceleste then despatched FC Dad 6-0 en route to the title.

With the match underway it was Cruz Del Sur who broke the deadlock Liam Kenney with his 5th goal in 3 games. Now would be the test to see if L'Albiceleste could break down the Cruz Del Sur defence and become only the second team to score past David Coleman today. The teams reached half-time with the 1-0 lead still intact.

In the second half L'Albiceleste threw everything at Cruz Del Sur but were unable to find a way through. The attacks got more and more frantic and it was backs to the wall at times but Cruz Del Sur defended stoutly. It was reminiscent of their Cup QF win over Barrymoore's at the 2017 Lisbon Tournament.

Final whistle went, it was 1-0 to Cruz Del Sur and they had picked up a sensational win. L'Albiceleste had fallen at the Cup Semi-Final stage for the very first time.

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