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W Connection starts Goal Shield defence
Defending Lucozade Sport Goal Shield champions and two-time winners W Connection will open their defence of its title with a tricky quarterfinal contest against San Juan Jabloteh at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva from 5 pm this afternoon. Two hours later, North East Stars and Police will lock horns in the last remaining quarterfinal for a place in next Friday’s semifinal at the same venue. Last night in the first quarterfinal double-header at the same Couva venue, Central FC was to come up against 2012 winners and last year’s semifinalist Caledonia AIA while two-time runner-up Defence Force was to meet Pt Fortin Civic FC.
In the semifinals, the winner of the W Connection/San Juan Jabloteh match faces the Point Fortin Civic/Defence Force winner while the Central FC/Caledonia AIA winner tackles the North East Stars/Police winner for a place in the final. This season’s edition, the unique tournament, based on its cash for goals incentive, will see the winners taking away an increased base prize, from $20,000 to $30,000 and $3,000 for every goal scored in the final, $2,000 for every goal scored in the semifinal, and $1,000 for every goal scored in the quarterfinal round. The runners-up prize structure pays out a $10,000 base amount and $1,500 for every goal scored in the final, $1,000 for every goal scored in the semifinal, and $500 for every goal scored in the quarterfinal round. There are also cash incentives for the leading goal-scorer ($1,000), most outstanding player ($1,000), most outstanding coach ($1,000), and the Lucozade Sport Goal Pot ($500) for spectators from the semifinal round onwards.
And having won the Digicel Charity Shield, Toyota Classic and T&T Football Association FA Trophy so far this campaign, the Stuart Charles Fevrier-coached W Connection will be confident of adding another title to their already packed cabinet. So far this campaign, W Connection have beaten Jabloteh in all three league meetings, and even though knockout tournaments tend to spring surprises, it will start as the fancied team to advance to the last four. In the three meetings, W Connection won 3–2 followed by much more comprehensive outcomes, 4–1 and 4–0 and will be mindful of scoring all its chances to enhance its prize money should it go all the way.
Jabloteh, meanwhile, secured its place in the quarterfinal after blanking St Ann’s Rangers 2–0 in the lone playoff match on Thursday at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar, with former national Under-23 duo, Jean-Luc Rochford and Micah Lewis on target in the fifth and 65th minute, respectively. The night’s second match is expected to be much more of an even contest with a resurgent Police under coach Richard Hood up against the Angus Eve-coaches Stars, which has loss only once in its last nine matches. Both teams have met twice so far in the league, with Police eking out a 1–0 win before Stars registered a 3–0 thumping, and with a semifinal spot up for grabs, both clubs are expected to come out firing.