Last update: 05-Dec-2013 3:57 pm
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Caledonia plays for pride against Mexico’s Toluca
Caledonia AIA midfielder and captain, Stephan David, wants more from his teammates today, when the his club tackles Mexican powerhouse Deportivo Toluca from 8 pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, in its second leg Concacaf Champions League match. “We just have to take advantage of our opportunities and not be afraid,” said the veteran midfielder. “We should play with a little more pride and intensity.” Caledonia, presently at the bottom of Group Six in the CCL without a point, sits behind leaders Toluca (six points) and Guatemala’s CSD Comunicaciones (three points), and is out of the running for a quarter-final spot. The Jamaal Shabazz-coached Caledonia, still in search of its first career CCL win, was defeated 3-1 by Toluca in Mexico on August 6 at the Estadio Nemesio Diez, which stands 8,793 feet above sea level, an altitude favouring the home side. Caledonia fell to a 3-0 home defeat against Comunicaciones on August 29 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Edgar Benitez, Miguel Almazan and Raul Nava were the scorers for Toluca in the first leg, while Caledonia’s Montserrat forward Julian Wade proved that the Mexicans were penetrable by scoring a late goal. And, in the Comunicaciones contest, Paolo Suarez, the elder brother of Liverpool FC star, Luis Suarez, scored all three goals. On Tuesday morning, Shabazz named a 20-man squad, for the second leg Toluca contest, which includes goalkeepers, Grenadian, Shemel Louison and Glenroy Samuel, Antiguan defender Akeem Thomas, Nuru Abdullah Muhammad, Aaron Lester, Noel Williams, Kareem Joseph, Aubrey David, Marcus Ambrose, Stephan David, Argentine Miguel Alejandro Romeo, Densill Theobald, Keron Betelmy, Nathan Lewis, Abdallah Phillips, Jamal Gay, Keyon Edwards, Akim Armstrong, back from injury, and CCL newcomers Kevaughn Connell and 31 year-old Grenadian striker Kithson Bain. “Our backs are against the wall now,” added the 34 year-old David. “But we have three points to play for on Wednesday and I think everyone is motivated and upbeat to get those three points.”
David said he hoped the home advantage is a strong one, with people coming out to support the club as the 12th man on Wednesday. Domestically, Caledonia kicked off its Digicel Pro League 2013-14 campaign on Saturday with a disappointing 3-0 loss against rivals North East Stars at Wednesday’s venue. “I think they scored their chances and took advantage of unforced errors, while we didn’t take advantage of our chances,” David said. “That’s what made the difference between North East Stars and us.” But, the Caledonia captain assured that Saturday’s defeat will in no way affect the mindset heading into Wednesday’s CCL match. He said, “It’s a loss and we weren’t happy about it, but this is Concacaf (Champions League) and the guys are focused. This is another competition entirely.” Following Wednesday’s CCL match against Toluca, Caledonia will return to domestic action on Saturday in the Digicel Pro League by visiting Central FC from 7 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva. Shabazz and his squad will then travel to Guatemala to wrap up their 2013-14 CCL group stage against Comunicaciones at the Estadio Cementos Progreso on September 29.
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