Dili Benfica v Kupang, Friday 8th April 2016, 7.30pm

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After six months without any local football, it was all starting to take off. The Timor Sea Cup is an annual U17 event between teams from countries that I imagine have some sort of connection to the Timor Sea. A bit vague, I know, but do you really care? It’s a football match and it was taking place at the nearby Larakia Stadium.

Kick-off wasn’t until the evening and so Jen and I decided to spend the day at the Territory Wildlife Park.

It’s called a wildlife park but I suppose it’s really a zoo, although quite a good one, with decent paths between the enclosures and some areas, like the bird place, where you can walk through with it seeming big enough for not for them to appear unduly restricted.

As with everywhere in Australia there were plenty of spiders and we spotted these two dangling over water that had crocodiles in it. I imagine crocodiles were the least of the smaller spider’s worries.

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We did one of those behind the scenes tours and got lucky by being the only two people there. I got to handle a lizard thing with a blue tongue. It didn’t seem too bothered about me, but I was a little worried that I might drop it and bring the tour, and possibly the lizard, to a premature end. My sister dropped a tortoise when she was a kid and cracked it in half. Even the newly invented superglue wasn’t able to save it.

We were able to go into one of the enclosures in the nocturnal house where we hand fed an owl with minced mice and then gave syringes of sugar solution to some little chipmunk type creatures. At times we had two of them feeding simultaneously whilst a third sat waiting.

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As it grew dark we drove over to the Larakia Stadium for the second fixture in the Timor Sea Cup. The previous night the ground had hosted the opening fixture in the three team round robin, a one-sided 10-0 victory by a Northern Territory select over Dili Benfica of East Timor.

With Dili making a re-appearance that evening against Indonesian side Kupang I wasn’t sure whether I wanted a more even contest than the previous night or whether I fancied watching through my fingers as Dili took an even bigger hammering.

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The early impressions suggested that Kupang might emulate the Northern Territory scoreline. They had more time on the ball, pressed the opposition better and their players looked a lot more physically developed than the East Timor team.

Kupang failed to make their advantage count though and it was still goalless at half-time. I looked around the crowd and got the impression that, with the exception of the fella to our right who moaned non-stop about the price all evening, Jen and I were probably the only ones who had paid the necessary ten dollars to get in. Everyone else appeared to be either a player, an official or accompanying one.

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The second half had more going on with Dili scoring against the run of play not long after the re-start. Unfortunately the East Timor keeper let one through his legs soon after and Kupang quickly followed their equaliser with another couple of goals.

It looked like Kupang might run away with the game at that stage, but Dili pulled one back to set up an interesting final few minutes.

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Dili had a glorious chance to take a point in the dying seconds but a tame shot went straight to the keeper and that was that.

A five-nil win for Northern Territory over Kupang the following evening gave the Australian team the trophy, with Kupang taking second place and Benfica Dili finishing third and last.

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