Kabo's three saves usher Lansdowne to a 4-3 PK win over Pancyprians in Open Cup qualifiers

By Ralph 'Onz' Chery

Lansdowne Bhoys keeper Abdoukarim "Kabo" Danso diving on his right. Photo by Dinos Avlonitis

 

Oct. 23rd, 2017

 

Game report

Lansdowne Bhoys slipped past NY Pancyprian Freedoms 4-3 in penalties after a 0-0 draw to advance to the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S Open Cup's qualifiers on Sunday night at St. John's University Belson Stadium.

Abdoukarim "Kabo" Danso was indispensable in the Bhoys' win, racking three saves in the shootout, including a winning block in sudden-death. 

The Freedoms had the best opportunity of the first half. Andreas Chronis steered a low-drive from the box toward the right corner of the net. Kabo was out of position but ex-Arsenal youth player Sean Kelly came to the Bhoys' rescue, clearing Chronis' shot off the line to safety in the 28th minute. 

Stratis Mastrokyriakos's men, who held Lansdowne to three shots in the first half, came close to taking the lead again four minutes after the restart. Adam Himeno controlled Chronis' pinpoint through ball before hitting a low-cross to Andreas Iosifidis. Unmarked, Iosifidis struck the ball past the right goalpost.

The Greek-Cypriot team had yet another golden opportunity to take the lead in the 65th minute as Chronis' header from the six-yard box rattled off the bar. 

 

Landowne Bhoys and NY Pancyprian Freedoms' players after Andreas Chronis headed the ball off the bar. Photo by Dinos Avlonitis.

 

Both teams remained goalless after the regular 90. Two more 15-minute halves weren't enough for the two CSL giants to break each other's defense. On to the nervy penalty shootout it was.

 

Penalty shootout

1. Andrew Soussa sored Lansdowne' first PK. The Freedoms' winger Andreas Chronis matched Soussa's penalty with one of his own.

2. Lukas Zarges hit the bar in Lansdowne's second go from 12 yards out. Kabo saved Luis Esteves' spot kick with a smooth, short dive to his left to keep it leveled.

3. Joseph Lopez blasted the Irish team's third PK to the left corner of the net. Meanwhile Kabo stretched on his right to stop Andreas Isosifidis' hit from crossing the line.

4. Bhoys' catpain Sean Kelly netted in the fourth round; as well as NY Pancyprian's sub John Koutsounadis

5. Kabo failed to win it for the Bhoys, hitting a weak shot toward the middle that Jordan Stagmiller easily saved. Gabriel Camara converted the three-time Open Cup champions' fifth spot kick to send the shootout to sudden-death.

6. Bhoys star striker Ovan Oakley netted the first sudden-death penalty, picking the lower left corner. Kabo reedemed himslef for his miss, diving to his right to block Simon Tsoukriel's hit. Bhoys win 4-3.

 

Players' corner

Sean Kelly on Kabo: "For me, at this level, he's the best keeper in the country. There's no doubt about it, I don't know how nobody's coming at the higher level even just to take him for a trial or anything 'cause he's so good."

 

Lansdowne Bhoys skipper Sean Kelly in a game against Southie F.C. Hess Boys Photography

 

Lansdowne Bhoys captain Sean Kelly was excited about the win after his side's 7-6 penalty kicks loss to NY Greek Americans on Tuesday.

"I thought we were going to have a heartbreaking game like Tuesday," Kelly said, "when we had the chance to win it and Kabo missed but fortunately Ovan stepped up and scored and Kabo redeemed himself again with the save. It's always great to get the win, the PKs, it's a lottery sometimes, you know, but it's obviously great to come out here and get the win against a very good Pancyprian team."

 

Lansdowne Bhoys star keeper Abdoukarim "Kabo" Danso. 

 

The 30-year-old rated Kabo as the best goalkeeper in the nation after his saves.

"Kabo made three saves [in the penalty shootout against NY Greeks] on Tuesday as well. He's been so good for us. For me, at this level he's the best keeper in the country. There's no doubt about it, I don't know how nobody's coming at the higher level even just to take him for a trial or anything 'cause he's so good. He's still young for his age as a goalkeeper, he has everything you need in a goalkeeper and you see it there again tonight.

"Three penalties. He steps up misses his penalty and just saves another one. Any keeper that saves three penalties in PKs, they're going to get the headlines. I'm delighted for him. He deserves everything, any bit of positivity like that."

 

Four key notes

1. No clinical finishing, no freedom: The Freedoms missed three close goal scoring opportunites when Lansdowne never really had a good look at goal. NY Pancyprian outshot the Bhoys 21-12.

2. This one fo' Coach: Captain Sean Kelly dedicated the win to their head coach Austin Friel who missed the game due to personal reasons.

3. Another penalty shootout for Lansdowne: Going into the game Lansdowne had come from a shootout five days before—a 7-6 loss to NY Greeks. They won the Amateur Cup in PKs, 9-8, against Bavaria SC in the summer.

4. It was the Pancyprian-Lansdowne rivalry, what do you expect?: The two teams shared nine yellows, four for the Freedoms, five for Lansdowne.

 

Lansdowne Bhoys fullback Craig Purcell getting yellow carded by the referee. Photo by Dinos Avlonitis

 

Statistics

NY Pancyprian Freedoms

Shots (on target): 20 (5)

Saves: 2 (keeper Jordan Stagmiller)

Yellow cards: 4 (G. Camara, A. Chronis, J. Matteo, A. Andreou)

Corners: 5 

Offsides: 2

 

Lansdowne Bhoys

Shots (on target): 12 (2)

Saves: 4 (keeper Abdoukarim "Kabo" Danso)

Yellow cards: 5 (M. Tigana, M. Holzer, O. Oakley, C. Purcell, A. Soussa)

Corners: 4

Offsides: 0

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