By Tom Degun in Singapore
August 25 - A brave Haitian team could not secure what would have been a fairytale finish at the Summer Youth Olympic Games as they were soundly beaten 5-0 by Bolivia in the boy’s football gold medal match at the Jalan Besar Stadium here tonight.
Bolivia had beaten Haiti 9-0 in the first match of the competition before the heroic footballers from the earthquake-stricken nation defied all expectations by storming through to the final to set up a second encounter with their rivals.
But, the footballers from the Caribbean island, who have captured the hearts of the world with their unexpected success story in Singapore, could not produce another shock and were forced to settle for a hard-earned silver medal as Bolivia were crowned boy’s football champions.
A dramatic encounter saw Rodrigo Mejido open the scoring for Bolivia after just four minutes before controversially getting sent off 17 minutes later after an elbow to the chest of Haiti’s Wiliam Barthelemy.
Despite going down to ten men, Bolivia continued to show the more attacking football and were rewarded with a second goal which was scored by Romero Vaca on the 31st minute.
Bolivia went in at half-time with their 2-0 lead intact and it was long before after the interval that Cristian Arano grabbed a third for his team with a header on the 53rd minute.
Substitute Luis Banegas then grabbed two goals more goals for Bolivia on the 59th and 72nd minute respectively to round off a comprehensive win.
However, despite the defeat, Haitian coach Pierre Sonche admitted he was proud of his players for picking up the silver medal and returning to their ravaged island with something to celebrate.
Sonche told insidethegames: "Instead of people crying in Haiti, which is all that has been happening for the last eight months, I hope what our boy’s have done out here has finally bought some smiles to people’s faces.
"It has been so hard for us and my team fought so well and I am very proud of them for that.
"We have achieved so much here but we wanted to go one better and bring the gold back to our country.
"We gave everything we could for ourselves and for the people of Haiti but Bolivia were simply better tonight.
"They have been together 15 months while we have been together for six weeks but that is no excuse and they deserved it.
"We have a silver medal and for that, we very are grateful and grateful to FIFA for letting my players come here and away from the struggle they face at home."
In the first game of the evening, Singapore delighted a near sell-out crowd with a 4-1 victory over Montenegro in the bronze medal match.
The sides went in 1-1 at half-time following a strike from Singapore’s Hanafi Mohd in the sixth minute that was cancelled out by Montenegro’s Jovan Baosic in the 14th minute.
However, Singapore put the contest to rest in the second-half with Mohd scoring his second in the 45th minute before Ammirul Mazlan scored a penalty for the hosts in the 57th minute and claiming another goal eight minutes later to ensure his side finished on the podium.
In the girl’s football tournament, Chile claimed gold with a 5-3 penalty shoot-out victory over Equatorial Guinea after the match had finished 1-1 while Turkey picked up bronze with a 3-0 win over Iran.
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August 2010: The inspiring story of how Haiti's young footballers overcame tragedy