Diallo strike takes Footballers into seventh place
8 months ago
A 20-yard rocket from Ibz Diallo helped steer ParalympicsGB to seventh place in the London 2012 7-a-side Football tournament early on the final day of the Paralympic Games.
It was GB’s second win over USA in less than a week but extra time was needed on this occasion. It means they join their 5-a-side counterparts in finishing seventh at the London 2012 Football tournaments.
Head coach Lyndon Lynch said there had been some important lessons to take on to Rio.
“We’ve not done as well as we hoped, we wanted to try and get in the medal matches or a top six finish,” said Lynch. “Although we started badly we’ve finished really well and that’s important for us going forward.”
GB had dominated the opening exchanges but USA scored their first goal of London 2012 when they took a shock lead after 19 minutes.
George Fletcher's back pass was mis-timed by Billy Thompson and Rene Renteria pounced to leave the GB goalkeeper red faced.
With Matt Dimbylow starting the game on the subs bench, Michael Barker took the armband and it was the stand-in skipper who got GB on level terms just before the break.
Diallo tricked his was through the USA defence before squaring it to Barker who side-footed the equaliser past Kevin Johnson with pace.
GB had beaten USA 4-0 in their final group game on Wednesday and the hosts, cheered on by another partisan crowd, bombarded the US goal in the second half.
Fletcher, Dimbylow and Diallo also saw shots rattle the woodwork in a mad three minutes that could have put the game beyond doubt. Diallo saw another shot hit the post with four minutes left but USA survived to take the game to extra time.
But the GB playmaker finally found the scoresheet when he broke from the halfway line before sending a right foot sizzler past Johnson.
And George Fletcher tied it all up with six minutes left when his cross/shot from the left wing floated over Johnson at the far post.
The GB crowd and players celebrated at full-time with Lynch taking to the stadium PA to thank the fans for their fantastic support.
“It’s a really great experience for the younger players,” he said. “They’ve been in a major tournament with fantastic crowds. Hopefully, they will take some positives out of the things we’ve done here at the Paralympics.
“I think it’s opened people’s eyes and raised the profile of CP football and, hopefully, there are some people out there that will think, ‘I can play football’.”
A combined crowd of over 50,000 has seen GB in action throughout the 7-a-side tournament at the Riverbank Arena.
For Diallo, a 19 year old Bristolian, the experience was beyond his expectations.
“We have learnt a lot from this tournament, for most of us it was a new experience,” he said. “Maybe we didn't quite use the crowd to our advantage, it was pretty overwhelming.
“Even when we were losing the crowd just kept going and cheering us on, they were absolutely fantastic. We had to win today, not even for us but for the crowd.”