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Central FC are Caribbean champs; Sharks stun nine-man Connection

Just three years into their existence, Central FC announced itself on the international stage tonight as the “Couva Sharks” shocked four-time regional champions DIRECTV W Connection 2-1 in the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship final at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.

Photo: Central FC goal scorer Jean-Luc Rochford (front) and his teammates celebrate with Caribbean Club Championship trophy. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC goal scorer Jean-Luc Rochford (front) and his teammates celebrate with Caribbean Club Championship trophy.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

The result itself might not seem surprising as Central have already won the Trinidad and Tobago Pro League title, the First Citizens Cup and are in the Pro Bowl final while Connection are trophy-less.

However, the final was anything but routine as Central, with just 16 players and no centre forwards available, started with defender-cum-midfielder Jamal Jack upfront and left back Keion Goodridge at centre midfield alongside the rarely used Jean-Luc Rochford.

And Central coach Terry Fenwick began the match with Ataulla Guerra, the most dynamic player in the Pro League let alone on the Central roster, on the bench.

Fenwick, a former England World Cup player, can claim to know a thing or two about football. Rochford put the Sharks ahead in the 27th minute and Jack doubled their lead in the 68th minute.

Connection’s challenge unravelled in a mad five-minute spell as defender Maurice Ford received a second yellow card for a foul on opposing winger Nathaniel Garcia in the 60th minute. While, in the 65th minute, Gerard Williams got his own marching orders with a crunching tackle on Garcia that nearly snapped him in two.

Ironically, Connection, who used Hashim Arica off the bench, created more chances than ever with just nine players on the field and deserved their 90th minute item from Neil Benjamin Jr.

Photo: Central FC midfielder Leston Paul (left) tries to keep a grip on W Connection playmaker Hashim Arcia during the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship final. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC midfielder Leston Paul (left) tries to keep a grip on W Connection playmaker Hashim Arcia during the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship final.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

But it was too late to overturn Central’s advantage as the Sharks shaved the biggest Couva Clasico to date for their first international trophy.

Both teams qualify for the 2015/16 CONCACAF Champions League alongside Jamaica’s Montego Bay United FC, who edged Haiti’s Don Bosco FC 1-0 earlier this evening.

(Teams)

Central FC (4-3-3): 21.Jan-Michael Williams (GK); 17.Marcelle Francois, 2.Elton John, 5.Akeem Benjamin (8.Sean De Silva 74), 4.Uriah Bentick, 14.Jean-Luc Rochford (45.Ataulla Guerra 59), 10.Marvin Oliver, 3.Keion Goodridge, 7.Jason Marcano, 12.Jamal Jack, 19.Nathaniel Garcia (6.Leston Paul 70).

Unused substitutes: 1.Javon Sample (GK), 11.Darren Mitchell.

Injured: 15.Kaydion Gabriel.

Suspension: 33.Willis Plaza.

Coach: Terry Fenwick

 

W Connection (4-2-1-3): 18.Julani Archibald (GK); 27.Shannon Gomez, 5.Mekeil Williams (captain), 26.Maurice Ford [Red Card 60], 13.Devaughn Elliot; 3.Gerard Williams [Red Card 65], 39.Alvin Jones (14.Hashim Arcia 57), 8.Stiven Reyes (25.Christian Viveros 67), 12.Jerrel Britto, 9.Shahdon Winchester, 40.Jomal Williams (65.Neil Benjamin Jr 69).

Unused substitutes: 22.Aquelius Sylvester (GK), 20.Christian Rodrigues, 36.Triston Hodge.

Coach: Stuart Charles-Fevrier

 

Referee: Sherwin Moore (Guyana)

Photo: Central FC's Jamal Jack (right) breaks clear of W Connection defender Christian Ocoro Viveros during the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship final. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC’s Jamal Jack (right) breaks clear of W Connection defender Christian Ocoro Viveros during the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship final.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Caribbean Club Championship finals

(Sun May 24)

Central FC 2 (Jean-Loc Rochford 27, Jamal Jack 68), W Connection 1 (Neil Benjamin Jr 90) at Ato Boldon Stadium;

Third Place Play Off

Montego Bay United FC 1 (Owayne Gordon 70), Don Bosco FC 0  at Ato Boldon Stadium.

 

Editor’s Note: Click HERE to read an analysis of the Caribbean Cup final through coaches Terry Fenwick (Central FC), Earl Jean (W Connection) and captain Marvin Oliver (Central FC).

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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6 comments

  1. Thanks. .alana. ..good luck to you’ll. it will be a marvellous experience. ….that is the level players need to play in week in week out…

  2. Thanks for enlightening me on his condition. I know he’s an excellent player and my team had to watch out for him but yea I’ll take that “my luck”. Our guys are awesome as well and I guess we wanted it more 🙂 Congrats to Connection tho for making it to the Champions League! Better luck next time!

  3. Congrats alana….wasn’t a mistake. …arcia had fever all day yesterday. ….wasn’t in condition for the full game…your luck….eh!

  4. Congratulations to Central FC. The hard work has paid off.