Casas brace sends Phoenix top; John Ronco with late equaliser in six-goal thriller

A brace from Manuel Casas and a goal apiece for Jonathan Benavente and Fernando Cuesta sealed Phoenix a 4-1 victory over a resilient Hound Dogs.

Phoenix started the first half the better side but struggled to find a way past a well organised Hound Dogs defence. Despite Phoenix having more of the ball, it was Hound Dogs who broke the deadlock. A free-kick was awarded to Hound Dogs, John Luke Olivera stepped up and curled his effort over the wall and into the top corner from about 25 yards out.

Hound Dogs were able to hold on for the last 10 minutes of the half and go into the break with a shock lead. 60 minutes into the game and Phoenix equalised, Francisco Nieto whipped in a cross, Manuel Casas rose above his marker and headed by James Simpson.

Phoenix made it 2-1 in the 80th minute, Hound Dogs failed to deal with a corner and the ball dropped to Jonathan Benavente who drilled the ball home from close range. Eight minutes later Phoenix made it 3-1, Jonathan Benavente made a great run down the wing, whipped in a low cross and Manuel Casas was on hand to fire past Simpson. In added time, Phoenix added a fourth, Benavente’s corner was flicked on by Antonio ‘Ito’ Jimenez into the path of Fernando Cuesta who slotted the ball into the back of the net.

This win sees Phoenix move top of the table on goal difference. For Hound Dogs, they defended superbly for 80 minutes and the score certainly doesn’t reflect on the performance from the young side.

John Ronco’s late goal earned Boca Juniors a 3-3 draw with Bruno’s Magpies after a thrilling Second Division contest.

Less than five minutes into the first half and Magpies took the lead, Daniel Varona latched onto a long ball from Regan Mendes, ran through on goal and slotted the ball past Jimenez. As the game went on Boca got better and nearly equalised midway through the half but Emilio Sansolini’s header hit the bar.

Just before half-time Magpies nearly doubled their lead but Boca keeper Francisco ‘Paco’ Jimenez pulled off an unbelievable save to keep out Varona’s curling effort from outside the box. Shortly after the referee blew for half-time with Magpies leading 1-0.

Just after the hour mark Magpies made it 2-0, Daniel Cafumana recieved the ball on the edge of the box and drilled a low shot into the bottom corner. Boca players and fans were furious with the decision as they felt one of the Magpies players were offside in the build-up but the goal stood.

Six minutes later Magpies made it 3-0, Kofi Halliday latched onto a through ball, raced on goal and fired the ball past Jimenez. Ten minutes later Boca were awarded a penalty, former Lions midfielder Ismael Cuesta stepped up and coolly slotted the past Reyes.

Two minutes later Boca made it 2-3, Great play down the wing saw the ball cut back to Samuel Nunez on the edge of the box who drilled his effort into the bottom corner. Boca kept pushing for a goal and in the dying embers of the game found an equaliser, great wing play by Matthew Grech saw his cross met by John Ronco who headed the ball past the onrushing Philip Reyes.

Game ended in a 3-3 draw and a big shout-out to the Boca & Magpies fans who were great.

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