A Trinidad and Tobago Pro League team will contest the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship final. But only one local football team would have that pleasure.
On May 24, the Caribbean Club Championship final will be contested at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva. But only one from DIRECTV W Connection and Central FC would fight for the title as the bitter Couva rivals are due to meet in the regional semifinals on May 22 at the same venue.
Connection and Central both advanced from their respective groups yesterday in contrasting fashion in Trinidad and Guyana respectively.
Connection romped past SAP FC 7-2 at the Ato Boldon Stadium for their second seven-goal haul in two group matches. While, at the Providence Stadium in Georgetown, Central overcame Alpha United 3-1 to top their group.
Alpha eliminated Defence Force at this same stage last year and only needed a draw for a second successive Pro League scalp. Trinidad and Tobago international midfielder Ataulla Guerra had other ideas, though, as he drove the “Couva Sharks” ahead in the 15th minute, created an item for midfield partner Sean De Silva in the 16th minute and then rolled home a penalty in the 85th after a foul on substitute Darren Mitchell.
Konata Manning did pull a goal back for Alpha in the 43rd minute with a classy free kick. But it was not enough to save the home team.
In Couva, there were no such problems for Connection.
SAP stands for “Spirited, Attitude and Performance” but not necessarily fair play. The Antiguan club travelled to Trinidad banking on star forwards Peter Byers and Blake Thompson who both allegedly played in the Dominican Republic earlier this month and were improperly registered to represent SAP.
Connection chairman David John Williams is not one to let such things slide and he promptly appealed to FIFA who responded with a ban for both players late last week. It meant SAP had only 16 players to call on while their two best attackers were forced to watch the proceedings from the standards.
Whether they would have made much of a difference is open to debate as Connection repeatedly tore through the Antiguan backline. Lanky playmaker Hashim Arcia bagged his second hattrick in the space of five days while Jerrel Britto notched a double and Jomal Williams and Shahdon Winchester scored a goal each.
It was the second successive outing that all four Connection attacking players managed items after their 7-1 rout of the Guyana Defence Force last Wednesday.
Six goals down at the interval, SAP resorted to robust play in the second half and it slowed Connection’s progress somewhat.
Midfielder Tevaughn Harriette gave the visitors reason to smile in the 59th minute with a rocket in the top left hand corner after a threaded pass from forward Elvis Thomas. And substitute Steven Roberts got another consolation item in the 77th minute after Connection goalkeeper Jelani Archibald fended an Okeem Challenger free kick into his path.
But the silky, measured play of Arcia was too much for the Antiguans as Connection were simply too well organised in attack and defence for the visitors. And a flying Shahdon Winchester volley in the 26th minute, off a Triston Hodge cross, was, arguably, the pick of the goals as the “Savonetta Boys” enjoyed themselves.
It will be a much tenser affair when Connection and Central meet on May 22. The winner will qualify automatically for the CONCACAF Champions League and contest the Caribbean final while the loser will have one last shot of qualification through a third place play off.
W Connection (4-2-1-3): 18.Julani Archibald (GK); 27.Shannon Gomez, 26.Maurice Ford (20.Christian Rodriguez 51), 5.Mekeil Williams (captain), 36.Triston Hodge; 3.Gerard Williams, 39.Alvin Jones; 14.Hashim Arcia (8.Stiven Lopez 76); 40.Jomal Williams, 12.Jerrel Britto, 9.Shahdon Winchester (65.Neil Benjamin Jr 62).
Unused substitutes: 22.Aquelius Sylvester (GK), 2.Kurt Frederick, 25.Christian Viveros, 29.Akeem Garcia.
Coach: Stuart Charles-Fevrier
SAP FC (4-2-3-1): 25.Molvin James (GK); 5.Lauson Limerick (7.Ikah Codrington 46), 2.Akeem Thomas, 17.Kerry Parker (captain), 4.Karanja Mack; 12.Teran Williams (15.Kemoi Williams 65), 3.Okeem Challenger; 9.O’dell Murray, 14.Tevaughn Harriette, 18.Novelle Francis Jr (13.Steven Roberts 64); 6.Elvis Thomas.
Unused substitutes: 53.Andre Martin (GK), 10.Jermaine Browne.
Coach: Janiel Simon
Referee: Rhomie Blanc (Dominica)
Caribbean Club Championship results
(Sun Apr 19)
Alpha United 1 (Konata Manning 43), Central FC 3 (Ataulla Guerra 15, 85 pen, Sean De Silva 16), Group 1, Providence Stadium, Georgetown;
W Connection 7 (Jomal Williams 5, Jerrel Britto 9, 81, Hashim Arcia 20, 43, 45, Shahdon Winchester 26), SAP FC 2 (Tevaughn Harriette 59, Steven Roberts 77), Group 2, Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva;
(Fri Apr 17)
Central FC 2 (Willis Plaza 53, 57), Inter Moengotapoe 0, Group 1, Providence Stadium, Georgetown;
Guyana D/Force 2, SAP FC 2, Group 2, Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva;
(Wed Apr 15)
Alpha United 3 (Daniel Wilson 26, Gregory Richardson 56, Kithson Bain 90), Inter Moengotapoe 0, Group 1, Providence Stadium, Georgetown;
W Connection 7 (Akeem Garcia 18, Shahdon Winchester 20, 25, Hashim Arcia 32, 46, 82, Jerrel Britto 40), Guyana D/Force 1 (Delroy Fraser 90), Group 2, Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.