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Friday, December 06, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Frederick does trick as Connection takes Pro opener
DirecTV W Connection topped the opening round of the Digicel Pro League 2013-14 season in style when the club overpowered St Ann’s Rangers in a one-sided 7–0 affair in the opening double-header match, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, on Saturday.
Connection’s St Lucian left-back Kurt Frederick was the star of the night, netting a superb second-half hat-trick against an “everything-gone-terribly-wrong” Rangers.
The more than comfortable victory took Connection to the top of the standings with the obviously better goal-difference, ahead of Point Fortin Civic which defeated Police FC 4–1, and Central FC, which defeated defending champions Defence Force on Friday night at the Ato Boldon Stadium. North East Stars also enjoyed a round one win, when the club thrashed Caledonia AIA 3–0 in the second double-header fixture on Saturday.
Brazilian midfielder Celio Da Silva Santos opened the scoring for the recently crowned two-time consecutive Digicel Charity Shield winners in the 16th minute for a 1–0 advantage by guiding in a deflected Stefano Rijssel corner past goalkeeper Akel Clarke.
Clarke conceded again in the 34th minute, when Rijssel doubled the Connection advantage, 2–0, with the first of his two goals on the night.
The Surinamese forward had a simple tap in against a hapless Clarke from a squared pass by teammate Jerrel Britto.
Clarke who made a save denying Hashim Arcia in the 13th minute, and watched a Joevin Jones strike fly over-bar in the 39th minute was replaced at the break by debuting Rangers’ coach Gilbert Bateau, father of T&T and Belgium-based defender Sheldon Bateau.
However, the introduction of goalkeeper Kern Caesar for the second half didn’t solve Rangers’ problems. In fact, it was worse following the break. Even former Connection players Kerron Cummings and Jelani Grosvenor couldn’t save the St Ann’s club the embarrassment.
Cummings had an attempt gloved behind by goalkeeper Alejandro Figueroa on the hour mark and in the 74th minute the ex-Central FC midfielder struck wide from distance.
It was in the 65th minute that Rangers suffered the first of Frederick’s three items.
The St Lucian latched onto a long cross inside the area by substitute Neil Benjamin Jr and blasted a low strike through the legs of goalkeeper Caesar for 3–0.
Rijssel then completed his double by the 69th minute, lifting the score-line 4–0, from inside the area thanks to Benjamin’s involvement on the right.
Another Connection second half introduction Jomal Williams joined in on the fun, slamming home his team’s fifth item in the 75th minute after collecting a Benjamin cross.
The team captain and T&T international, Jones, was denied his place on the score-sheet in the 77th minute, after hitting the crossbar to Caesar’s relief.
But, ten minutes from time Rangers lost the substitute goalkeeper to a direct red card after pulling down goal-bound Benjamin outside the area.
Rangers’ left-back Caleb Sturge was tucked between the uprights and did commendably well despite conceding a pair of goals as Connection enjoyed the comfortable 7–0 win.
During the play from the resulting free-kick, in the 81st minute, which Sturge made a diving save to deny Jones, the ball was only cleared as far Frederick at the top of the area, and the Connection left-back rifled a low strike just inside the upright. Even a specialist goalkeeper would have had little or no chance against the strike.
Frederick then sealed his hat-trick in the 84th minute by heading past Sturge from a well-placed Jomal Williams chip over the Rangers’ defense.
But, Sturge would have left the field a bit of a hero on the night after pulling off two added-on time saves against a Jomal Williams strike and a Benjamin blast.
In the second match of Saturday’s double-header, perhaps more eyebrows were raised when Caledonia AIA, which is preparing for Tuesday’s second-leg group stage match against Mexico’s Deportivo Toluca at the same Hasely Crawford Stadium, was humbled 3–0 by North East Stars.
Friday: Hasely Crawford Stadium
Point Fortin Civic Centre 4 (Andre Toussaint 16th, Marcus Joseph 36th, Matthew Bartholomew 38th, 84th) vs Police 1 (Todd Ryan 63rd)
Central FC 3 (Jason Marcano 28th, Dwight Quintero 66th, Rundel Winchester 77th) vs Defence Force 1 (Kerry Joseph 7th)
Saturday: Hasely Crawford Stadium
W Connection 7 (Celio De Silva Santos 16th, Stefano Rjissel 34th, 69th, Kurt Frederick 65th, 81st, 84th, Jomal Williams 75th) vs St Ann’s Rangers 0
North East Stars 3 (Micah Lewis 14th, Anthony Wolfe 55th, 87th) vs Caledonia AIA 0
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