Korabi Bears – Union Latinos 4:3 (2:2)
Staten Island, NY August 26, 2007 – As most sports fans will agree, not all championship games live up to their expectations, well this one did. In today’s final of the SI Spanish League Korabi and Union Latinos saved their best for last with both teams playing exceptionally well.
In the 5th minute Abdulla Begaj opened the scoring, taking a pass from Ervin Makishti from the midfield, and getting by the Union Latinos defense to make the score 1:0.
Shortly after, Union Latinos took over the game and in the 10th minute Leslie Elbridge equalized the score at 1:1.
Union Latinos took a 2:1 lead in the 13th minute through Lorenzo Stevens and continued to dominate the game with many scoring opportunities but were denied by Korabi keeper John DiCiellio.
In the 35th minute Albert Ruci was brought down in the box and a penalty was awarded to Korabi which Abdulla Begaj calmly put in the net to tie the score at 2:2.
In the second half Korabi took control of the game and in the 50th minute Abdulla Begaj blasted a powerful shot past Union Latinos keeper from 30 yards out to put Korabi in front 3:2.
With Korabi having the upper hand and control of the game, Union Latinos were beginning to lose composure and as a result there were a number of yellow cards issued to both sides and in the 65th minute a player from each team were ejected.
In the 75th minute a penalty was awarded to Union Latinos when Lirim Begaj, the youngest player in the league at 16, handled the ball in the penalty box. Union Latinos were unable to convert the penalty shooting the ball over the crossbar.
Korabi increased its lead to 4:2 in the 75th minute when a Union Latinos handled the ball in the penalty area and a penalty was awarded which Abdulla Begaj calmly converted.
In the 90th minute Fornatee Brapoh scored a consolation goal for Union Latinos but it was already too late and the game finished at 4:3 for Korabi.
It must be noted that in addition to the players who put in a great effort and showed resilience during the hot summer, coach Reshit “Rusty” Papraniku and assistant coach Kujtim “Timmy” Begaj did a stellar job in keeping the youngsters prepared and focused.
This was a good test for this Korabi team as we will be entering the Cosmopolitan Soccer League in September for the 2007-2008 season and it will be very challenging as it’s the premier amateur league in the New York City metropolitan area.
Congratulations and thanks to our supporters.