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NEWS SPECIAL REPORT


Clockwise: Cruise118’s Krystle Johnson, with Gianfranco Zola, was named female player of the tournament; Zola with the Reuben’s Retreat delegation, Travel Weekly’s Lucy Huxley and MSC Cruises’ Antonio Paradiso; Paradiso, Zola, male player of the tournament Adam Emery of Thomas Cook, and Carlo Cudicini; The Travel Network Group celebrate victory


FINAL MATCH REPORT Thomas Cook 0 – 1 The Travel Network Group


Chelsea legends Gianfranco Zola and Carlo Cudicini gave stirring team talks to the two finalists ahead of the showdown for the first-ever MSC Cup trophy. Thomas Cook, led by ex-playmaker Zola, and The Travel Network Group,


instructed by former goalkeeper Cudicini, geared up for the big match on the famous Stamford Bridge turf. Both had won their groups, setting up a hotly-contested final with both teams as yet unbeaten. It was end-to-end stuff from the off, with The Travel Network Group edging the


early exchanges as their team looked after the ball well, building play from the back and creating space in dangerous areas. Their good start paid off, with top scorer Christian Green, of Thames Travel, heading home to put the consortium 1-0 up. The final was a battle from there on in, with Thomas Cook’s team asserting


themselves on the game more and more as the tie went on, and the consortium seeking to defend their lead. As Cudicini yelled ‘bravo’ from the sidelines, keeper Adam Mehmet – The Travel Network Group account manager for Barclays, who had not let in one goal in the tournament – pulled off some fine saves as the Sunny Hearts piled on the pressure. The resilient Networkers limited Cook to shots from range as they struggled to break down the consortium’s stingy defence despite the battling efforts of eventual male player of the tournament Adam Emery. Corner after corner flew in, but it wasn’t to be for Cook. The Travel Network


Group chief executive Gary Lewis reported “nervous excitement” on the bench ahead of the final whistle, but his team held on to win the coveted trophy and be the first to have its name etched on to the MSC Cup.


Clockwise: Gary Lewis jockeys Thomas Cook attacker; Lewis receives his goal of the tournament trophy from Paradiso, Zola and Cudicini; Thomas Cook’s Adam Emery battles hard but can’t break down the consortium’s defence


travelweekly.co.uk 30 MAY 2019 15


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