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Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Central finishes second in Pro League as Jabloteh stuns Defence Force
Second year Digicel T&T Pro League participants Central FC hurdled Defence Force by goal-difference on Tuesday night to finish second on the standings and qualified for next season’s Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship, which also serves as the qualifying tournament to the Concacaf Champions League.
The Terry Fenwick coached-Central whipped cellar-positioned St Ann’s Rangers 3-0, led by a double from national striker Willis Plaza at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva while simultaneously at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, Defence Force, needing just a draw against San Juan Jabloteh, was stunned 1-0 via a second minute Neil Mitchell goal.
Central and Defence Force both finished with 45 points from their 24 matches, but the “Sharks’” superior goal difference meant that Fenwick’s side will join rivals DirecTV W Connection to represent T&T in next year’s CFU Club Championship.
An elated Fenwick said, “In only our second season, what an achievement (it is) to beat good teams like Defence Force, who had an up and down season because of their issues off the field. Also Caledonia ...teams that have been established in the league.
W Connection, who had already secured the historic $1 million league crown and CFU spot on the penultimate day, wrapped up its final league match with a 1-1 draw against Caledonia AIA in the opener at Couva to finish with 50 points.
The “Savonnetta Boys”, also preparing for tomorrow’s Digicel Pro Bowl semi-final against Central from 8 pm at the Couva venue, rotated a number of players and fell behind in the 39th minute to a Pernell Schultz item.
But by the 57th minute, W Connection’s Tobagonian forward Mickaeel Gem Gordon equalised by blasting in a rebound after Caledonia goalkeeper Kevin Graham had made an excellent shutout to deny Neil Benjamin.
As for Central FC, a 43rd minute Winchester strike handed the “Sharks” a 1-0 lead before the break after squandering a number of earlier chances.
Winchester, picked out inside the area by an Ataullah Guerra pass following sequence of passes with Keon Trim and Leston Paul, curled a right footer past goalkeeper Akel Clarke and into the far netting.
Clarke, hung out to dry in the 71st minute, was beaten again when Plaza controlled substitute Dwight Quintero’s cross and volleyed into the back of the Rangers net for a 2-0 cushion.
Seven minutes later Plaza hooked an effort onto the base of the upright, but by the 80th minute he was celebrating his second on the night and 14th league goal this season.
Plaza, unleashed by a long counterattack pass by Darren Mitchell, slipped past his challenger and into the area before squaring a pass to Quintero on the right, then from the return pass the ace Central forward hit past Clarke for a 3-0 score.
At Mucurapo, North East Stars, who must tackle St Ann’s Rangers in a rescheduled league match on May 20, also registered a comfortable 3-0 win against Police FC.
The Stars, completing the win by the first half, grabbed a double by Under 21 player Tarik Raymond, who scored in the 28th and 40th minutes, and an opening item by Kennedy Hinkson in the 25th minute.
It was not a promising result for Police, who must take on Defence Force in the other Digicel Pro Bowl semifinal at Couva, tomorrow.
W Connection 1 (Mickaeel Gem Gordon 57th) vs Caledonia 1 (Pernell Schultz 39th)
North East Stars 3 (Tarik Sampson 28th, 40th, Kennedy Hinkson 25th) vs Police 0
Central FC 3 (Willis Plaza 71st, 80th, Rundell Winchester 43rd) vs St Ann’s Rangers 0
San Juan Jabloteh 1 (Neil Mitchell 2nd) vs Defence Force 0
North East Stars vs St. Ann’s Rangers
Caledonia AIA vs Point Fortin Civic