Former Trinidad and Tobago National Under-23 goalkeeper Javon Sample saved his third penalty in two matches on Sunday evening, as Bankers Insurance Central FC retained their Caribbean Club Championship crown with a 3-0 win over DIRECTV W Connection in a repeat of the 2015 final.
Last year, Connection had two players sent off—Maurice Ford and Gerard Williams—as they lost 1-0 to Central at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva. On the weekend, the “Savonetta Boys” again failed to keep their discipline, as Shahdon Winchester was ejected in the first half and Central took full advantage to eventually add to Marcus Joseph’s early goal.
Alvin Jones might have equalised for Connection but failed to get his penalty kick past Sample. And Jones compounded his team’s misery by also getting sent off in the second half before Jason Marcano and Darrell Mitchell wrapped up the result with two strikes in the closing 10 minutes.
It meant a massive maiden trophy for Central head coach Dale Saunders, although both teams will advance to the 2016/17 CONCACAF Champions League alongside Haiti’s Don Bosco FC, who beat Jamaica’s Arnett Gardens to third place.
Trinidad and Tobago clubs have won three of the last four contested Caribbean Club Championship finals—Caledonia AIA defeated Connection on penalties in 2012—and Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene said this dominance is an indication of the strength of the local top flight competition.
“Congratulations to Central for winning the Caribbean Club Championship and (Central and W Connection) for qualifying for next season’s Concacaf Champions League,” Skeene told the TT Pro League website. “It augurs well for the TT Pro League with these clubs displaying the improved standard of play.
“The competitiveness of the Pro League, which is another key performance indicator for any league, has sharpened and prepared Central and W Connection to achieve this outcome.
“We continue to focus on improving the performances in the Concacaf Champions League, exposing our local talent to competition on the international arena.”
Skeene thanked the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, the Ministry of Sport and Sport Minister Darryl Smith for their continued support along with sponsors like Digicel, First Citizens, Toyota, Lucozade Sport, Wendy’s and The Fan Club for their contributions to the Pro League’s success.
Central are favourites to retain their Pro League title too although they will not be in action today.
Club Sando and Point Fortin Civic clash from 6 pm today at the Ato Boldon Stadium while Morvant Caledonia United face Japs North East Stars and Police FC tackle Defence Force from 7 pm and 9 pm respectively in a Hasely Crawford Stadium double header.
The remaining 2015/16 Pro League fixtures are as follows:
(Tuesday May 3)
Club Sando vs Point Fortin Civic, 6 pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;
Morvant Caledonia United vs North East Stars, 7 pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium;
Police FC vs Defence Force, 9 pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium;
(Friday May 6)
Point Fortin Civic vs Morvant Caledonia United, 6 pm, Mahaica Oval;
Club Sando vs San Juan Jabloteh, 6 pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;
W Connection vs Defence Force, 8 pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;
(Sunday May 8)
Central FC vs North East Stars, 4 pm, Mannie Ramjohn Stadium;
St Ann’s Rangers vs Police FC, 4 pm, Larry Gomes Stadium;
(Tuesday May 17)
Central FC vs St Ann’s Rangers, TBA, Ato Boldon Stadium;
Club Sando vs W Connection, TBA, Ato Boldon Stadium;
Police FC vs Point Fortin Civic, TBA, Hasely Crawford Stadium
Defence Force vs Morvant Caledonia United, TBA, Hasely Crawford Stadium;
San Juan Jabloteh vs North East Stars, TBA, Barataria Recreation Ground.
(Rescheduled fixtures: Date, venues and kick-off times to be decided)
San Juan Jabloteh vs Central FC, TBA, TBA;
W Connection vs St Ann’s Rangers, TBA, TBA.