Pro League giants Bankers Insurance Central FC and DIRECTV W Connection advanced to the Lucozade Sport Goal Shield semifinals yesterday but in contrasting styles after victories over St Ann’s Rangers and Japs North East Stars respectively at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
Central, the defending knock out champions and reigning TT Pro League winners, needed kicks from the penalty mark to hold off table proppers, St Ann’s Rangers, while Connection avenged an April 1 defeat to Stars with a 4-1 triumph in the second match of a double header.
The “Couva Sharks” took to the field first against a Rangers team that trails them by 34 points in the league competition. Buoyed by a midweek triumph over Club Sando, Rangers were determined to be a troublesome opponent though.
Keron Cornwall put the Angus Eve-coached outfit ahead in the 20th minute but the advantage lasted less than 10 minutes as Trinidad and Tobago international attacker Rundell Winchester equalised with his first goal since his mid-season return from the United States second division with Portland Timbers II.
There were no further goals in regulation time and Central were the more efficient team from the spot, as they held their nerve for a 3-1 shootout triumph.
Things were more clear cut in the second affair.
Each goal in the quarterfinal and semifinal round is worth TT$1,000 each for the eventual winner. Connection might have already banked TT$4,000 then.
Shahdon Winchester put the “Savonetta Boys” ahead, after just 10 minutes, and although Kerry Baptiste managed an equaliser—three minutes after the interval—second half items from Jelani Peters, Andre Toussaint and Neil Benjamin Jr helped Connection cruise to a comfortable win.
Lucozade Sport quarterfinal action continues today in Port of Spain, as Defence Force tackle Morvant Caledonia from 4 pm and San Juan Jabloteh square off against Police FC from 8 pm. Both fixtures are scheduled for the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
The Lucozade Sport Goal Shield is the third cup competition of the Pro League season. W Connection secured both the First Citizens Cup and Toyota Classic Cup titles.
On last night’s evidence, they have their hearts set on a hattrick of trophies.
2016 Lucozade Sport Goal Shield results
(Friday April 8)
Central FC 1 (Rundell Winchester 29), St Ann’s Rangers 1 (Keron Cornwall 20) at Ato Boldon Stadium;
*—Central FC won 3-1 on kicks from the penalty mark
W Connection 4 (Shahdon Winchester 10, Jelani Peters 56, Andre Toussaint 62, Neil Benjamin Jr 87), North East Stars 1 (Kerry Baptiste 48) at Ato Boldon Stadium;
(Saturday April 9)
Defence Force vs Morvant Caledonia United, 4 pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium;
San Juan Jabloteh vs Police FC, 6 pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium.