Botafogo Claims Brondby Cup Title!
Team Chicago Academy-Botafogo claimed the Brondby Cup title with an exhilarating 4-2 defeat of the host Brondby IF. Brondby – the defending Danish U18 champions had defeated Botafogo 2-1 two days ago, but in the final Botafogo wasn’t to be denied.
Playing on some very tired legs after a long and grueling summer (and 4 games in 44 hours), the Botafogo girls got off to a great start in the final when Zoe Swift scored in the 8th minute. Center-back Rachele Armand played a wonderful ball over the top that found a perfect 60-yard run by left-back Kaitlin Johnson who played in a great left-footed cross to Zoe Swift inside the 6-yard box.
After that great start, the tired legs started to show and Brondby dominated most of the rest of the first half. They managed to score two goals to take a 2-1 lead into the half-time.
However, switching from a 4-3-3 formation to a 4-5-1 formation from the start of the second half it was an inspired Botafogo team that immediately took control of the midfield. With that control the defenders got more time on the ball, and they started play-making and keeping better possession. The extra players in the midfield also allowed more penetrating runs from deep, and pretty soon Botafogo had established total dominance.
Ashley Handwork, playing as the lone striker, did a yeoman’s job up top, and about 15 minutes in her tenacious work won Botafogo a penalty which Meegan Johnston expertly converted to tie the game. Boosted by the goal Botafogo created chance after chance, and especially Kaitlin’s Johnson’s penetrating run from the left-back position onto a perfect Dana Miller through-ball had deserved a better end-result.
But the Botafogo parents, and Coach Phil Nielsen’s family, who were cheering the team on from the sideline had to wait until the 83rd minute before they saw the eventual game-winning goal. Another tenacious bit of pressuring by Ashley Handwork lead to a too-soft pass-back by the Brondby center-back, which Zoe Swift intercepted before calmly rounding the keeper and slotting it home with her 7th goal in 4 games.
And the fans got even more to cheer about less than 60 seconds later when Darby Moran hit a perfect shot from the distance to put the game away. It was a great goal to perfectly complete a fantastic performance at the end of an incredible summer of soccer for Botafogo.