Vasco launch antiracism initiative
Brian Dickinson reiterated Vasco Da Gama will do their utmost to demonstrate the club’s zero tolerance to racism after launching a #NoToRacism initiative before their 3-2 victory over Footy Kings in the FA Cup preliminary round at Bernard Park yesterday.
Social-media reports emerged of racially offensive remarks being used during Vasco’s First Division encounter with Young Men’s Social Club last weekend.
The club’s former president, Miguel Pereira, was ejected from the venue during the game after directing foul and abusive language towards referee Antoine Augustus.
Pereira later called the Inside Sport radio show on Power 95 to apologise for his behaviour, but insisted he did not shout racist abuse.
While Bermuda Football Association investigations are still ongoing, Dickinson felt it necessary for the club to demonstrate their stance of racism, with players from both sides wearing #NoToRacism shirts before the game as well as signage being placed around the pitch.
“The whole process came about because of the unfortunate allegations that came out last week,” Dickinson said. “The incident is still under investigation, there has been no conclusions as yet, but we thought as a club that an initiative would be taken to show the community exactly where we stand on racism.
“Obviously, there is no place for racism in any sport and hopefully out of an unfortunate allegation, something positive and progressive can come out of it.
“Whatever the outcome of the investigations, it is important for us to show as a club and as a community that we do not, and will not tolerate racism.
“It is unfortunate that the club has come under the allegation of racism, but we’re trying to show exactly where we stand on the subject.”
On the field, the match sparked into life after just two minutes as Vasco opened the scoring in spectacular fashion. Collecting a bouncing ball 30 yards from goal, Eduardo Correia caught Footy Kings’ goalkeeper Aaron Browne off guard with an instinctive dipping volley that nestled into the bottom right corner.
After the early setback, Footy Kings regained composure and came close to levelling in the eighth minute as patient build-up saw the ball played into former Bermuda forward Ralph Bean, who turned smartly onto his left, with his goalbound effort being smartly turned around the post by goalkeeper.
Vasco quickly regained control of the match and almost doubled their advantage after 26 minutes.
The lively Ryan Lopes raced clear of the opposition defence on the right-hand side before cutting the ball back to the edge of the area for Nuno DaSilva, whose curling effort was brilliantly turned away by Browne.
However, there was nothing the goalkeeper could do seven minutes later as Vasco grabbed a second. Failing to heed the earlier warning of Lopes’s pace and movement, the forward’s run was perfectly picked out by captain Ricardo Ponte. Lopes remained calm to slot the ball past the advancing Browne.
The same player was denied a second five minutes before the interval. After again racing clear of the opposition defence, Lopes was set to pull the trigger but was brilliantly denied by a last ditch tackle from the backtracking Connero Trott.
Footy Kings, who play in the Corona League, began the second half with renewed vigour and halved the deficit just five minutes after the restart. A deep free kick picked out Sean Fubler on the edge of the area, whose touch found its way to Clinton Hayward to rifle a low drilled effort past the Vasco goalkeeper.
Footy Kings continued to push forward and came agonisingly close to equalising in the 57th minute as a deep corner fell to Dennis Musson on the edge the area, whose first-time volley flashed off the top of the crossbar and over.
Vinzie Zuill’s team continued to dominate the second half and had a strong penalty appeal waved away in the 78th minute as Jared Peniston, a former Bermuda midfielder, appeared to be bundled to the ground in the corner of area.
To make matters worse, Vasco then grabbed a third just three minutes later. Intricate build up play saw the ball played into the feet of Lopes inside the area, who shifted the ball on top his left foot before drilling a low strike beyond the reach of Browne and into the far bottom corner.
Refusing to rest on their laurels, Footy Kings continued pouring forward and should have scored a second with six minutes remaining.
Bean with space and time down the right wing, picked out Fubler at the backpost, who looked set to tap the ball in but couldn’t adjust his feet in time with his scuffed effort rolling into the body of the grateful Bolacha.
However, with three minutes remaining the Corona League outfit rightfully added a second goal that their perseverance deserved as Bean curled a perfectly executed 25-yard free-kick into the top right corner.
There was just enough time for Browne to deny Vasco skipper Ponte, tipping a curling effort around the post as the First Division side held on to their advantage to advance into the next round of the competition.
Despite the defeat, Footy Kings coach Zuill could not hide her pride at her team’s display against higher-league oppostition. “We fought really hard and left everything out on the pitch,” she said. “In the hot conditions it was always going to come down to fitness and how bad we wanted it but right up until the end we fought and gave everything.
“The guys came really close to grabbing an equaliser and I’m extremely proud of all of the squad for their efforts.
“We knew it was going to be a hard game but the players exceeded my expectations, I can’t fault them against higher-league opposition, we went toe-to-toe with them.
“We’ll definitely take confidence from the game, credit to Vasco for getting the win but I believe my team deserve a lot of credit as well.”
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