DIRECTV W Connection will meet bitter Couva rivals, Central FC, for the final time this season on Friday May 16 in the Digicel Pro Bowl semi-final match from 8 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva. “The Amazing Spiderman 2” probably has little on “El Clásico Couva 7.”
Judging from their encounters this season, it will be blockbuster stuff.
Connection advanced past the quarterfinal stage tonight after a late flurry of goals helped the “Savonetta Boys” to a 3-1 win over Caledonia AIA in Port of Spain while Central eased to a 3-0 triumph over North East Stars in Couva.
In the other quarterfinal affairs, Defence Force edged Point Fortin Civic 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 tie while Police FC held off San Juan Jabloteh 4-2. The two sets of servicemen will meet in the other semifinal fixture next Friday from 6 pm in Couva.
At Port of Spain, lanky striker Jameel Perry struck a hattrick for Police and Elijah Belgrave also grabbed a first half item. But there were awkward spells in the second half as teenagers Brent Sam, Aikim Andrews and Akeem Garcia threatened while veteran Kerry Baptiste scored twice from the penalty spot for Jabloteh.
Police coach Richard Hood might be concerned to see Perry leave the field on a stretcher in stoppage time. But it was a largely enjoyable outing for the “Lawmen” as they gave themselves a chance of glory in the competition.
In the second match of the Port of Spain double header, Connection made its first outing since securing the million dollar Pro League title last week; but it was an anti-climax.
Trinidad and Tobago’s national stadium, which is just five minutes’ drive from Sport Minister Anil Roberts’ office, is in such poor condition that the teams had to change in the Jean Pierre Complex and spent halftime taking instructions at the side of the field rather than in their respective dressing room.
The stands were near deserted too and, in the sterile atmosphere, Connection struggled to rouse itself.
Caledonia might have scored twice from Tyrone Charles free kicks in the first half—the first fended away by Connection goalkeeper Julani Archibald and the second struck an upright—before Connection right back Alvin Jones maintained his scoring hot streak with an angled drive from the edge of the area in the 70th minute, which took a slight deflection to beat Caledonia’s Jamaican goalkeeper Kevin Graham.
Six minutes later, Connection defender Daneil Cyrus was over-elaborate in possession and Densill Theobald stole the ball and relayed it to forward Keyon Edwards who finished with a fine left footed strike into the corner.
Caledonia held parity until the 88th minute when Hashim Arcia flicked home from close range after a Stefano Rijssel cross. And Rijssel capped his late season form with the third goal in stoppage time after an assist from substitute Neil Benjamin Jr.
Presumably, Connection will have a tougher time against Central next Friday.
W Connection (4-2-1-3): 18.Julani Archibald (GK); 39.Alvin Jones, 4.Daneil Cyrus, 15.Mekeil Williams, 2.Kurt Frederick; 3.Gerard Williams (captain), 40.Jomal Williams; 10.Joevin Jones; 12.Jerrel Britto (65.Neil Benjamin Jr), 14.Hashim Arcia, 20.Stefano Rijsell,
Unused substitutes: 22.Aquelius Sylvester (GK), 13.Devaughn Elliot, 17.Jamal Clarence, 19.Joel Russell, 25.Christian Viveros, 26.Eden Charles.
Coach: Stuart Charles-Fevrier
Caledonia AIA (4-4-1-1): 34.Kevin Graham (GK); 12.Kareem Joseph, 20.Noel Williams, 3.Nuru Muhammad (captain), 6.Marcus Ambrose; 27.Nathan Lewis, 8.Keron Bethelmy, 21.Densill Theobald (24.Conrod Smith 79), 28.Pernell Schultz (22.Jameel Neptune); 16.Tyrone Charles; 9.Keyon Edwards.
Unused substitutes: 1.Shemel Louison (GK), 4.Raymond Alleyne, 13.Julian Wade, 15.Aaron Lester, 32.Kyle Bartholomew.
Coach: Jamaal Shabazz
Digicel Pro Bowl
(Fri May 9)
Police FC 4 (Jameel Perry 15, 32, 79 Elijah Belgrave 43), San Juan Jabloteh 2 (Kerry Baptiste 49 pen, 57 pen) at Port of Spain
W Connection 3 (Alvin Jones 70, Hashim Arcia 88, Stefano Rijssel 90+1), Caledonia AIA 1 (Keyon Edwards 75) at Port of Spain
Defence Force 2 (Akeem Roach 9, Josimar Belgrave 29 pen), Point Fortin Civic 2 (Andre Alexis 23, Jamille Boatswain 41) in Couva
*–Defence Force wins 4-3 on penalties
Central FC 3 (Willis Plaza 9 pen, Darren Mitchell 11, Rundell Winchester 66), North East Stars 0 at Couva