DESC were rampant in the section introduced for the first time this season, even making NSL kings Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou look ordinary as the French school were brushed aside in Saturday’s final 3-1.
DESC had been one of the standout teams during the group stages and met little opposition as they made their way to the final at The Sevens, completing a dream NSL debut by lifting the trophy.
Terry has been so impressed with the organisation of the tournament that he hopes the school send older age grade teams to fight for glory on three fronts next season.
“I hope so,” replied Barratt when asked if the team would defend their title next season.
“The boys have had a great time. It’s well organised and the kids love the media coverage. I’m sure we’ll be back to defend our title and hopefully we’ll bring a few of the other age groups too and look for those titles, because at DESC we’re really passionate about football and sport in general.
“It’s something we take quite seriously, competing in every competition we can.”
DESC stormed into an early 2-0 lead in the final, pocket rocket Luis Dunn opening the scoring after beating LFI goalkeeper Cyprien Girod at his near post with a low drive before James Aubrey doubled their advantage seconds later.
LFI reduced the deficit early in the second half when Badis Zerguerras prodded in after stopper Nathan Westie only partially dealt with a corner, but DESC snuffed out any hope of a comeback when Leo Mulrainy blasted home after Dunn had been thwarted by Girod following a mazy run.
And Barratt singled out his star playmaker Dunn for special praise.
“He’s a fantastic player,” said Barratt. Even in the DASSA (Dubai Affiliated School Sport Association) Leagues we play in he comes up against some big rugby boys but he shields the ball really well and he’s a fantastic little player.
“He’s got fantastic feet and can finish. Just like Messi he shows you don’t have to be big to play. He certainly showed it today.
“We started really well and it went 2-0 but then they got back to 2-1 and it made it a good game. It was feisty and there was a good tempo.
“We said (at 2-1) the next goal was crucial and little Luis has managed to score it and it calmed us down and took the sting out of the game and then we finished the game off well.”
Being so young and playing in a new competition, in front of a big crowd, might well have been intimidating, but Barratt had no such concerns.
He added: “One thing we talk about is having the confidence. They knew they were being tested and knew they were in for a game, but all the time they know they have the ability.
“They knew if they played the way they know they can they’d probably get the result, which they have done. They played some excellent football today. It’s nice to see them play with a smile on their faces and I’m ecstatic with them today.”
With LFI Pompidou looking to retain their Under 14’s Emirates Islamic National School League Football title the soccer action at the Sevens Stadium Dubai was non stop.
Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou confirmed their status as Emirates Islamic National School League Football royalty as they retained both their Under-14s and U-16s titles.
Frederic Deswarte’s team brushed aside tournament debutants Al Ain Juniors 6-2 in the U-16s showpiece at The Sevens on Saturday, while their younger counterparts similarly met little resistence as they swept to a 4-1 win in the U-14s final against Wellington International School.
It capped a superb 2016/17 campaign as the French school rampaged to the double double, following on from their success in the inaugural NSL Football campaign 12 months ago.
For two of the goalscorers in the U-16s final, victory was particularly memorable. Chanin Hamdaoui and Tom Kassis cemented their reputations as boys for the grandest stage as both netted having played pivotal roles a year ago.
Just as LFI repeated as champions, Hamdaoui reprised his role as star act as he took away the player-of-the-match accolade for the second year in a row.
The 15-year-old, who scored in the 2015/16 showpiece, was at the core of LFI’s triumph, bagging a brace of both goals and assists while also working tirelessly for the cause.
“I stayed focused and just did what I had to and think about the victory,” said wideman Hamdaoui.
“To be player of the match in the final for the second year in a row, it’s good, I am happy. I’m so happy I have no words. “I think this second win feels more special. It’s always harder to win it the second time.
“We were the team everyone expects to win and if we lose, everyone would be happy to beat the champions. “Because of that, the games were tougher. More teams knew about us and we lost too in the groups. “It was hard to come back from that but the coach knew what to do and we came back stronger, and we saved our best performance for the final. We play very well together, we know each other, we are friends, we spend time together at the weekend, so we have a good spirit – and you can see this on the pitch.”
And LFI forward Chanin Hamdaoui won the final MVP for the second year in a row after a starring role in LFI's 6-2 win, scoring two goals pic.twitter.com/EtBsuR0gi9— Matt Jones (@MattJones360) February 4, 2017
Team-mate Kassis, also 15, also got on the scoresheet, a year after he was the catalysts for the U-14s epic victory against Al Salef Sal Saleh Private School. In a thrilling 2015/16 U-14s final, Kassis bagged a hat-trick, the third of which was a golden-goal clincher in extra time handed LFI victory.
He has gone from being the senior member of that squad to the “baby” of this year’s vintage, and he will still be eligible next season, and hopes he can be a treble champion.
“It’s special to score in two finals, incredible,” said Kassis, also 15. “Last year I scored a hat-trick and this year I scored once. “I’m as happy as I was last year. Last year it was an incredible game. “We were leading then we were behind and I scored the golden goal in extra time. “Last year I was the oldest, now I’m the youngest, I’m the baby. I will be back next year to win a third title, that would be really special. I hope I can do that.”
If the purists were hoping for an even contest, it failed to materialise as the defending champions went ahead inside the first minute through captain Thomas Rousse’s opener.
Hedi 'the human wall' Hbaieb rightly earned the U14 Golden Glove award for the season. The LFI stopper was outstanding throughout pic.twitter.com/DDuupICChQ— Matt Jones (@MattJones360) February 4, 2017
There was a moment of controversy when Al Ain’s Mohamed Sajid saw his effort ruled out for a foul on LFI goalkeeper Angelo Vitale. LFI took advantage as Hamdaoui doubled the lead when he caught stopper Abdul Aziz out at his near post.
Another error from Aziz saw him spill Kassis’ shot into his net and even though Al Ain launched a spirited fightback in the second period, reducing the arrears to 3-1 and then 4-1 through Ahmed Ashraf and Mohamed Ayman, Hamdaoui and Rousse completed their braces while Ralph Charaf also netted to seal deserved back-to-back titles.
LFI sauntered into the final in similarly comfortable fashion, beating Our Own English High School Al Ain 4-0 in the semi-finals.
The other last-four clash had been a titanic event, in which Al Ain came from a goal down to triumph 2-1 over GEMS Our Own Indian School in extra time.
LFI's Adam Germouni was named U14 MVP for the entire season pic.twitter.com/OIv1nzvP3x— Matt Jones (@MattJones360) February 4, 2017