Latinos Football Club etch their names in the history books Sunday (23 August) night, after defeating Scholars International to win the Cayman Islands Football Association President’s Cup for the first time ever. It was the first domestic trophy lifted by the spanish team since 2007 when they won the FA Cup.
“Thank you God,” said Latinos’ captain Jarol Smith after the game. “I have [been with the team for] five years… and that’s the first time I won a cup.” Latinos loss 4-1 to Scholars during the 2019-2020 league. After the match, Scholars’ head coach Collin Rowe commended Latinos on getting redemption on his team.
“I take my hat off to the coaching staff and the players because they came with a strategy and it worked,” said Rowe. “It’s very disappointing to know, that we came so close but I must say Latinos was very positive from the start and they looked like they wanted it more than anything else, so they deserve it.”
Latinos brought more than their starting 11 plus subs Sunday night. In fact, spanish fans turned up in big numbers, inside and outside the Annex, parading in the bleachers, beating drums that echoed throughout George Town.
“It helped because when you’re tired and you hear these people (referring to the fans) you come again and again,” said Smith. “I really appreciate all the people.”
The game kicked off following a moment of silence to honour the late Gonzalo McLaughlin who died in a tragic car accident earlier this month. Smith put his team upfront 1-0 in the 16th minute after scoring in the box. Teammate Jose Melendez followed that up in the second half with a goal in the 50th minute to bring the score two nil.
The game was stopped several times after that due Latinos’ players claiming to have injuries. However many Scholars’ fans on the sidelines thought it was sham to burn time. During the 4 minutes of added time however, Scholars were given a penalty after a reckless tackle to which Jonah Ebanks sunk in the back of the net; but it wasn’t enough as the final whistle blew in favour of Latinos.
“We are really happy tonight,” said Latinos’ Chairman Saulo Castro. “My players deserve this Cup.”