Last update: 05-Dec-2013 12:35 am
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Saints through to Big-Five finale
St Mary’s College and its lively traveling support made its trip to the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar, Arima, count yesterday, when it persevered against the most dangerous threat in schools’ football, St Augustine Secondary, in a goalless stalemate before taking a 6-5 win from the penalty spot to advance to the final of the BGTT First Citizens Secondary Schools Football League.
The Saints were resilient, soaking up constant attacking threat late on from this year’s best team in league competition, including that from its topscorer Ricardo John, who had a night to forget after missing several clear cut chances.
In the end, it was a converted sudden death kick from Chinua Bernard, and a subsequent save from a massive Christian Attong in goal for St Mary’s, which sent the roaring supporters into a frenzy.
The win earned St Mary’s a spot in Monday’s final against either Presentation College of San Fernando or Carapichaima East Secondary. The latter two schools will contest the second semifinal at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, from 5 pm, today.
To put the icing on the Saints’ cake, St Mary’s effectively exacted revenge against the same team it lost to (2-0) in the Big-Five semifinal, back in 2009, the last time St Mary’s won the North Zone league title.
St Augustine would have felt slighted by the result after having the best opportunity to win the match outright, particularly after the league’s leading goalscorer, John, who minutes left in regulation time, danced around a host of St Mary’s defenders and had just the keeper to beat but popped his tame effort into Attong’s hands.
Mackesie Quashie, a stocky defender for the Green Machine, also had a good chance with a distant free-kick but his driven effort in the first period, which may well have had Attong beaten, sizzled mere inches away from the goal.
St Mary’s through its top forward, Bernard, had a pair of chances to open the scoring for his team, which enjoyed greater possession in the first half. He missed an open net at full stretch midway through the first half after connecting with a right-sided cross from Aaron Noel. Noel also almost had his team in front when he smashed a free kick, goal-bound but the St Augustine custodian tipped it onto the crossbar.
The consolation for St Augustine is it remains the only undefeated championship team in all competition this season. Prior to yesterday’s Big-Five match, the Green Machine ended its league campaign with one draw, no losses and the rest, wins.
Pres, Caps clash in other semis today
In a replay of last year’s final, South Zone champion Presentation College and defending champion Carapichaima East will clash in the second semifinal match from 5 pm.
Only yesterday a verdict was reached as to which school from the Central Zone, Chaguanas North Secondary or Carapichaima East, would participate in the semifinal.
The SSFL, upon receiving a complaint on the fielding of one of Chaguanas North’s players during league matches by another team in the Central Zone, investigated and agreed that Chaguanas North fielded an ineligible player. The SSFL, as a result, deemed Carapichaima East, which originally lost the title on the final round of league action to Chaguanas North, the league champion, thus awarding it a place in the Big-Five semifinal.
When asked why the player was ineligible, Azaad Mohammed-Khan, general secretary of the SSFL said he would prefer not to divulge more information as he was unsure if the principal of Chaguanas North was aware of the sanction. He said once the principal acknowledges a letter issuing the SSFL’s decision, he would issue a media release giving more details.
Today’s second semifinal is expected to provide thrills with Presentation College seeking revenge after losing out of the Big-Five trophy, following a 1-0 defeat by Caps, in last year’s final.
The winner will meet St Mary’s College in Monday’s finale.
St Mary’s College 0 v St Augustine Secondary 0. St Mary’s won 6-5 via kicks from the penalty spot.
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