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Stars, Ma Pau seek Classic glory
First-time finalists, DirecTV North East Stars and Ma Pau will be hoping to register their first lien on the Toyota Classic trophy, when they face off in the final at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya from 8pm tonight.
Two hours before the Stars-Ma Pau “Classic showdown,” Pro League coaches XI will do battle with a Toyota All Star team. Since the inception of the Toyota Classic knockout competition in 2005, only four clubs have managed to lift the coveted title. W Connection was inaugural winners in 2005 edging San Juan Jabloteh 1-0 followed by Petrotrin (2006), bmobile Joe Public (2007), Jabloteh (2008) and Joe Public again a year later. This time around, none of those clubs managed to reach the title decider, with Jabloteh, reaching further before falling to Ma Pau 5-4 on sudden-death penalty-kicks after a 2-2 draw in last Friday’s semi-final, this after the Terry Fenwick-coached Jabloteh led 2-0 inside the first 60 minutes.For Ma Pau, tonight’s match marks the first time in the club’s three-year history it has reached a final in the Pro League.
A key figure in the Casino Boys’ run has been former national and England-based goalkeeper, Ma Pau goalkeeper coach/player, Clayton Ince. The 38-year-old former T&T Defence Force custodian came up big for his club in their quarterfinal win over Caledonia, pulling off three saves in the penalty shoot-out sudden-death win followed by his heroics against Jabloteh. Speaking on the eve of the final Ma Pau coach, Michael Mc Comie who led Joe Public to the title in 2007 said he believes his team has a good chance of lifting the crown: “The players are all upbeat and ready for the challenge of North East Stars.”
Mc Comie also expressed confidence in the other players to step up their game in the absence of the suspended utility player, Seon Power, saying he has a group of guys who are capable of filling in when one is out for various reasons.
The Sangre Grande-based Stars will be in their third final, having won the Lucozade Sports Goal Shield and emerging runners-up in the T&T Football Federation FA Trophy final, both against Jabloteh. Looking ahead to the match, Stars coach, Shurland David, a former national defender said he too, was very confident his team could pick up a second title this season once they buck up on defence. Reflecting on his team’s 3-1 semifinal win over bmobile Joe Publi Super League line-up, David said, “We just need a little more concentration in the way we defend because we face a tougher team in the final and if we make mistakes, we will be punished. For tonight’s match David should have his full quota of players available with the exception of midfielder Marc Leslie and strikers Errol Mc Farlane Jr and Guyanese international, Randolph Jerome who are all nursing injuries.
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