The 2013/14 Digicel Pro League season threw up a final dramatic twist yesterday as Defence Force crashed to a 1-0 loss to San Juan Jabloteh at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. It meant that, at the death, Central FC earned a shock CONCACAF Champions League qualifying berth courtesy of a 3-0 win over St Ann’s Rangers at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
Just seven days ago, Defence Force, the 2012/13 Pro League champion team, was 90 minutes away from defending its title and claiming the million dollar first prize. Instead, the Army/Coast Guard unit does not even have regional football to look forward to with only the top two local teams progressing to the Caribbean club competition.
Last week, Jabloteh, with three national youth players in its line-up, seemed to have derailed Central’s chances of getting off the island with a stubborn goalless draw in Couva. The “Teteron Boys” only needed one point against Jabloteh yesterday to wrap up their business. But they could not get it.
A second minute goal from Neil Mitchell saw Jabloteh end its season on a high while Defence Force, who reinstated striker Richard Roy to its first team for the fixture ahead of the injured Devorn Jorsling, could not manage a reply. And the “Couva Sharks” took full advantage of the slip up to join Couva rival, Connection, in the CONCACAF qualifying series.
In the other matches, champion team DIRECTV W Connection came from behind to hold Caledonia AIA 1-1 in Couva while North East Stars whipped Police 3-0 at Port of Spain thanks to a double from Arima North Secondary striker Tarik Sampson.
Digicel Pro League
(Tuesday May 13)
W Connection 1 (Jem Gordon 57), Caledonia AIA 1 (Purnell Schultz 39) at Couva;
Central FC 3 (Rundell Winchester 43, Willis Plaza 71, 80), St Ann’s Rangers 0 at Couva;
North East Stars 3 (Kennedy Hinkson 25, Tariq Sampson 28, 40), Police FC 0 at Port of Spain;
San Juan Jabloteh 1 (Neil Mitchell 2), Defence Force 0 at Port of Spain.[standings league_id=2 template=extend logo=true]