After winning their first game in the Caribbean Club format in the history of the programme, Scholars International Sports Club finished third overall in Group A of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Shield held in Willemstad, Curacao.
The defending Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) champions opened the tournament Friday (5 April) with a 2-0 win over Guyanese champion Fruta Conquerors, Scholars drew 0-0 with Santiago de Cuba.
“It was a good game, we went out with a game plan to sit back and let them hold the ball and not surrender any goals,” said Pearson. “We went in with a 4-5-1 formation, and just had a lone forward up patrolling to see if he could pick off any crumbs from the defense’s mistake. That was coach’s orders and we stuck it out for a draw. I had a scoring chance, but the keeper made a good save.”
After leading Group A prior to their second game, Pearson says the strategy was the prevent goals and play with a ‘better safe than sorry’ mentality.
“It was a pretty tiresome game,” said Pearson. “The other team just did a lot of running, a lot of one-two’s, and a lot of fast plays, so we had to concentrate with no mental lapses. There were chances for both teams, it was all game experience. They showed us a level of respect that was amazing. They kept coming at us, and we sat back and took the pressure. Our goalkeeper Carlos (Escobar) was amazing.”
With a chance to advance past the round robin for the first time in their three CFU appearances, Scholars faced Curacao club champions Jong Holland Tuesday (9 April). Needing just a draw to advance, they’d lose 1-0 and fall to third in the group.
“We tried the same formation again, players were fatigued from playing one day after,” said Pearson. “We made one mistake, a miscommunication that caused a goal. We had multiple chances to draw which is what we wanted. We will work on more finishing. We get chances, but we aren’t executing. We would have been cleared six points.”
Scholars return to local play against George Town Football Club this Sunday (14 April) at the Ed Bush Playing Field as part of the CIFA Challenge League.