Hendon United Blue held their nerve in a penalty shoot-out as they ran out winners of the U7 ‘Mystery Cup’ competition.
JNMJFL U7 ‘Mystery Cup’
Sunday, 9 February, 2014
Facing NWLJ in the semi-final, a thrilling encounter was also a dress rehearsal to the Major Cup final, which both sides will be contesting in May. It was very much a game of one half. Rafi Kruskal opened the scoring for Hendon after a few minutes and was followed by a hat-trick barrage from Samuel Leibovici. NWLJ were a little shaken but managed to score before the half-time whistle. The second half saw Hendon defend tightly and despite some extraordinary shots from NWLJ there were to be no more goals.
After a five minute break, Hendon Blue faced the formidable HMH Eilat in the final, which proved to be a tense game with neither team giving anything away. After a goalless first half, both teams knew they needed to step it up to avoid a penalty shoot-out and there were some wonderful attempts on goal at both ends. But it was HMH Eilat who finally broke the deadlock with only a few minutes left to play. As Hendon took centre, Samuel Leibovici surged forward with the ball and immediately replied just before the referee blew the final whistle signalling the much dreaded penalty shootout.
It was a tough way to end a great match and it was through the penalties scored by Eli Meyers and Rafi Kruskal, who also acted as a terrific keeper, that Hendon managed to finally lift the trophy.
Joint-manager Shuli Meyers said: “Today was very much a team effort. Our opponents were excellent teams and it could have ended very differently.”
His co-manager Edgar Leibovici added: “We are very proud of all the boys and their performance, not just over the last two weeks, but since the beginning of the season.”