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Connection, Central clash in FA final

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Malabar FC’s Jameel Neptune, right, clears a ball past a charging Keon Goodridge of Central FC, during the semifinal of the T&T Football Association (TTFA) FA Trophy competition, last week. Central won the contest on spot kicks following a 2-2 draw and will meet DirecTV W Connection in the final, today, at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, from 7.30 pm. Photo: Anthony Harris

T&T internationals Daneil Cyrus and Joevin Jones, both of whom recently returned from trials in Vietnam and Italy, respectfully, are likely to be wedged into DirecTV W Connection’s squad for today’s FA Trophy final against Central FC, which kicks off from 7.30 pm, at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.


Connection, winner of the 2013 Digicel Charity Shield and recently crowned Toyota Classic champion, is in chase of a third title this season, while opponents Central, winner of the First Citizens Cup, is gunning for its second overall knockout title.


However, Connection isn’t certain of a full squad.


“We will have 11 players on the field,” said the Connection head coach Stuart Charles Fevrier, “But we aren’t sure of having seven players on the substitutes’ bench.”


Fevrier revealed yesterday that defenders Leslie Joel Russell and Devaughn Elliot are out, nursing a groin and thigh injury respectively, while Colombian midfielders Camilo Ortega Andres Diaz, Yhon Stiven Lopez and Yefer Steven Lozano have all returned home to sort out domestic issues, and are only likely to re-join the Savonetta Boys in January.


He said that Cyrus, who returned to T&T on Sunday following a trial at defending V-League champions Hanoi, may be involved in today’s final because of the unavailability of Russell. While Britto and Clarence, who both had unsuccessful trials at another Vietnam top-flight club, Song Lam Nghe An, are scheduled to return later this week and will not be part of today’s contest.


Jones, meanwhile, only returned to T&T on Monday from Italy, after failing to impress coach Francesco Guidolin at Serie A club Udinese.


Central FC meanwhile, is without regular left-back Keion Goodridge, who suffered bruised ribs after crashing into the upright during the semifinal round against Super League outfit Malabar FC a week ago.


Central eventually won the match 3-2 on penalties following a hard-fought 2-2 draw, while Connection warmed late to defeat North East Stars 3-0 in semifinal two.


The Stars will meet Malabar from 5 pm in the third place play-off for a fraction of the prize money structure, which includes $50,000 to the winner, $30,000 to the runner-up, and $20,000 to the third place finisher.


Central FC head coach Terry Fenwick expressed concerns over the third place play-off, which he believes, stands the risk of marring the Final.


“The (Ato Boldon Stadium) pitch is already taking a soaking these days and overused as it is,” said the Central coach. “By the time we get to our game – the finale which everyone is turning up to see – the surface will be terrible by the end of the third place match. I don’t see why they have to play a third place match in the FA, it doesn’t happen anywhere else.”


Also, Connection and Central, both based in Couva, share the single Ato Boldon Stadium training field, which has also been affected by rainfall.


Both Fevrier and Fenwick said that preparations were hampered due to ground conditions, but both men remain optimistic.


“We are confident,” Fenwick said. “They (W Connection) were lucky the last time we met. They converted the one chance they carved while we wasted opportunities.”


Fenwick blames off the field hiccups, for his side’s mixed results this season, but promised that Central will be “all guns blazing” today.




Today’s FA Trophy final


Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva


Central FC v W Connection, 7.30 pm

Third-place play-off


Malabar FC v North East Stars, 5 pm


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