with Neville Paterson
Tuesday, 8 April 2003
Great game ... Westlands goalkeeper Roger ‘Shaka’ Franklin made some great saves against Croatia, but was unable to stop this one!
Croatia made it five wins from five games after a three-nil win over Westlands at Dakalanta Park on Saturday to cruise into the final of the league cup.
The highlight of the match came from Westlands keeper Roger "Shaka" Franklin who pulled off some exceptional saves to keep his side in the game in the first half.
The first chance came after 10 minutes when Faulds flicked the ball over his head and unleashed a left foot volley that just flew over.
Five minutes later a Fauld's pass with the outside of the foot was met by DaRocha but Franklin saved well at his near post.
Soon after Franklin failed to gather a through ball that took a bad bounce, Scatena though with the goal at his mercy could only hit the bar.
Twenty-five minutes into the game Rincon burst into the clear and was challenged by Perone in the box, Westlands claimed a penalty but it was waved away by the referee.
Five minutes later Scatena's cross was met by Stamoulis at the back post but Franklin produced a great save to deny Theo's header creeping in the near post.
After 35 minutes Croatia were awarded a penalty that Todd lined up, there was nothing wrong with his spot kick but Franklin was on fire and pulled off another superb save way down to his right.
Just before half-time Birch hit one from long range that went wide as both teams went in to the break locked a nil-all.
The second-half was only one minute old when DaRocha was put into the clear and lobbed the ball over the keeper for Croatia to take a one-nil lead.
Minutes later a Westlands corner fell to Ellis in the box but he had to take the chance quickly and it went just wide.
Ten minutes into the second half Croatia made it two-nil when a Fauld's pass allowed Scatena to get inside his man and he smashed the ball into the bottom corner from a tight angle.
Westlands then had a good patch of their own when Rigg's clearance went straight to Rincon but Rigg made amends to save the shot and 10 minutes later Birch hit a volley on the run that the keeper had to parry.
With 10 minutes to go substitute Best floated over a great cross but Stamoulis couldn't keep his header down.
As the ball went upfield Ellis weaved his way along the by-line, his curling effort though flew just past the far post.
With only minutes to go DaRocha was bundled over in the box and he dusted himself off to take the ball off Stamoulis and put away the penalty for three-nil.
Just before the final whistle Rigg had to deal with an Anderson free-kick but it was Croatia who came out victorious.
Croatia will enter the final with high confidence after a five-one win over Westlands with the scorers being Leopold (2), Mikic (2) and Bone (1) with McEwan banging home for Westlands.