San Juan Jabloteh produced a second giant slaying performance last night to eliminate defending Pro League champion club, DIRECTV W Connection, thanks to a 2-0 triumph at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.
New Jamaican recruits, Sterling Newton and Adrian Reid, got the items for the Jabloteh team which now advances to next Friday’s semifinal. The “San Juan Kings” will meet either Caledonia AIA or North East Stars, who clash today.
In last night’s second quarterfinal fixture at Couva, defending First Citizens champion, Central FC, needed penalty kicks to squeeze past Point Fortin Civic in a fiercely fought encounter that finished 1-1 in regulation time. Central will play the winner between Police FC and St Ann’s Rangers.
In total, there were 11 penalty attempts last night on Trinidad and Tobago’s two best goalkeepers, Central’s Jan-Michael Williams and Point Fortin’s Marvin Phillip. Six efforts were successful and Williams celebrated at the end as the “Couva Sharks” won the battle of nerves.
Civic might have expected better after taking the lead in only the second minute.
After a shambolic pre-season due to financial troubles, Point Fortin came out flying in its first knock-out fixture of the 2014/15 season and was ahead within seconds as veteran Andre Toussaint converted a low Steven Joseph cross at the far post.
Central midfielder Leston Paul, who wore the captain’s armband last night rather the ever-green Marvin Oliver, thought he had equalised in the 11th minute as he steered an Akeem Benjamin cross goalward, only for Phillip to turn the shot on to the bar with a superb reflex save.
There were two more brilliant Phillip saves in the first half before referee Neal Brizan pointed to the penalty spot in the 41st minute after Point Fortin defender Andre Ettienne tripped Central midfielder Sean De Silva in the 18-yard box.
Ataulla Guerra, one of three “Soca Warriors” in the Central squad, made no mistake from the spot.
There were no further goals in regulation time; and, in the subsequent shoot out, Phillip saved from Marcelle Francois while De Silva blasted overbar. But Williams emerged trumps with blocks from Toussaint, substitute Matthew Bartholomew and Weslie John before Oliver stroked home the Sharks’ winner for a 3-2 shootout triumph.
In the opener, the San Juan Kings, who needed penalties to overcome Defence Force just two days earlier, got the job done early with two first half goals against Connection.
It was the first competitive match of the season for the “Savonetta Boys” and St Lucia defender Jamil Joseph would not want to remember it.
The dreadlocked Joseph played competently at this month’s Caribbean Cup qualifying round in the same Couva venue. Maybe he was reminiscing when Jabloteh striker, Newton, stole the ball from him in the 14th minute before blasting past Connection goalkeeper Jelani Archibald from just inside the area.
There was still a lot of time for Connection and Joseph to atone. But things got worse instead.
Twenty minutes later, Joseph again demonstrated poor judgment as he tripped Newton’s compatriot, Fabian Reid, who was heading away from goal at the time, and referee Gyasi McDonald pointed to the spot.
Another Jamaican, Adrian Reid, blasted accurately to Archibald’s right to double Jabloteh’s advantage while a fourth visitor from the land of reggae, goalkeeper Shane Mattis, held on for an impressive clean sheet.
Connection coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier replaced Joseph with Trinidad and Tobago national under-20 defender Maurice Ford at the interval. Ford was one of three national teenagers used by Connection yesterday along with Akeem Garcia and Aikim Andrews.
Garcia and Andrews both jumped ship from Jabloteh during the pre-season.
Yesterday, Jabloteh, thanks to the boys from “Jamrock” and the industrious pair of native midfielders Dillon Kirton and Brendon Boucaud, had some joy at their expense.
San Juan Jabloteh (4-2-3-1): 30.Shane Mattis (GK); 18.Jevon Morris (captain), 6.Dario Holmes, 24.Adrian Reid, 22.Calib Sturge (4.Garth Thomas 57); 19.Dillon Kirton, 12.Brendon Boucaud (14.Shaquille Bertrand 72); 7.Andell Noray, 17.Fabian Reid, 9.Johan Peltier (15.Duran Dilworth 67); 8.Newton Sterling.
Unused substitutes: 36.Raheem Belgrave (GK), 10.Kerry Baptiste, 16.Nyron Jones, 25.Troy Moses.
Coach: Keith Jeffrey
W Connection (4-2-1-3): 18.Jelani Archibald (GK); 39.Alvin Jones (28.Aikim Andrews 69), 4.Jamil Joseph (26.Maurice Ford 46), 5.Mekeil Williams, 2.Kurt Frederick; 3.Gerard Williams (captain), 11.Tremain Paul; 10.Yefer Steven; 32.Dimitrie Apai, 14.Hashim Arcia, 20.Akeem Garcia (65.Neil Benjamin Jr 72).
Unused substitutes: 22.Aquelius Sylvester (GK), 13.Devaughn Elliot, 17.Jamal Clarence, 36.Triston Hodge.
Coach: Stuart Charles-Fevrier
Referee: Gyasi McDonald
First Citizens Cup quarterfinals
(Fri Oct 17)
San Juan Jabloteh 2 (Sterling Newton 14, Adrian Reid 35), W Connection 0 at Couva;
Central FC 1 (Ataulla Guerra 41 pen), Point Fortin Civic 1 (Andre Toussaint 2) at Couva;
*–Central FC won 3-2 on penalties;
(Sat Oct 18)
Police FC v St Ann’s Rangers, 5 pm, Macoya;
Caledonia AIA v North East Stars, 7 pm, Macoya.