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W Connection eases past Caledonia meets Central in Bowl semis
DirecTV W Connection stayed on course for a historic fifth title this campaign when it spanked Caledonia AIA 3-1 in their quarterfinal clash of this year’s winner-take-all $100,000 Digicel Pro Bowl competition in the feature match of a double-header against Caledonia AIA at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, on Friday night. At the end of the first-half, both W Connection, still on a high from claiming a record fifth Digicel T&T Pro League crown three days earlier and the $1 million winners’ prize and Caledonia, failed to trouble the scores. However, with 19 minutes left on the clock, Alvin Jones, the son of former national defender Kelvin Jones and brother of national midfielder Joevin Jones fired the “Savonetta Boys” ahead.
That lead did not last long as Caledonia striker Keyon Edwards got the 2008 winners back on level terms within seven minutes to set up a frenetic finish and the possibility of penalties. But with a minute left on the clock, Hachim Arcia got the decisive item for W Connection, while two minutes into time added-on, Suriname’s Stefano Rijssel added a third to put the icing on the victory as W Connection kept on course to add to its previous triumphs in the inaugural competition, 2004 and 2007 while it was also runner-up in 2005, 2006 and 2011. Last year, W Connection also stopped Caledonia at the same stage via a 3-1 victory en route to beating North East Stars 4-3 on penalty-kicks in the final after a 2-2 draw. In the night’s opener, Police used a hat-trick from Jameel Perry to hold off two-time winner San Juan Jabloteh 4-2.
The Lawmen looked set for a comfortable victory after Perry netted in the 15th and 32nd minute for a 2-0 cushion, while Elijah Belgrave added a third two minutes before the half, for a 3-0 advantage. On the resumption, Jabloteh, Pro Bowl champions in 2005 and 2006 mounted a fightback with Kerry Baptiste, the all-time leading goalscorer in the T&T Pro League firing in two quick items in the 50th and 58th minutes, to get his team within a goal at 3-2 down. With ten minutes left on the clock, Perry completed his hat-trick to ease his team’s nerves and seal a semi-final spot against 2012 winner Defence Force.
Down at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, the “Teteron Boys” twice squandered the lead before getting the better of Pt Fortin Civic Fc 4-3 on penalty-kicks. Akeem Roach put Defence Force ahead in the ninth minute but in the 23rd Andre Alexis replied for Pt Fortin Civic, only for Josimar Belgrave to restore Defence Force’s advantage in the 29th Josimar Belgrave, and Jamille Boatswain to get Pt Fortin level again, four minutes later. The second-half failed to live up to the first 45 minutes with no goals, sending the match to the dreaded penalty-kicks where Defence Force prevailed 4-3. In the night’s second match, Willis Plaza, Darren Mitchell and Rundell Winchester were all on target as Central FC kept in the hunt for a third title this season with a 3-0 shut-out of North East Stars. It was sweet revenge for Central which was beaten by Stars 5-3 on penalty-kicks after a 1-1 draw in their quarterfinal last year.
Venue: Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo:
Police 4 (Jameel Perry 15th, 32nd, 80th, Elijah Belgrave 43rd) vs Jabloteh 2 (Kerry Baptiste 50th, 58th)
W Connection 3 (Alvin Jones 71st, Hachim Arcia 89th, Stefano Rijssel 92nd) vs Caledonia AIA 1 (Keyon Edwards 76th)
Venue: Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva:
Pt Fortin Civic 2 (Andre Alexis 23rd, Jamille Boatswain 41st) vs Defence Force 2 (Akeem Roach 9th, Josimar Belgrave 29th pen) - Defence Force won 4-3 on penalty kicks
Central FC 3 (Willis Plaza 9th pen, Darren Mitchell 11th, Rundell Winchester 66th) vs North East Stars 0