Kevin Woodley got a second-half hat trick as debutants Club Sando earned the first semifinal spot in this year’s First Citizens Cup with a 3-1 defeat of St Ann’s Rangers at the Mahaica Oval in Point Fortin, yesterday.
However, with ten minutes left in the contest, Woodley grabbed his second for a 2-1 lead and a minute into time added on, he completed his treble to set up a semifinal with the winner of today’s match between two-time defending champion Central FC and Police, on Friday.
The clash between Central FC and Police FC, the feature match of a quarterfinal double-header takes place at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo from 6 pm today. Two hours earlier, Defence Force and Morvant Caledonia United, both former two-time winners, square off a spot in the semifinals as well.
For Central FC and Defence Force, it will be their second matches in the tournament this season after coming through their qualifying round encounters against Japs North East Stars (4-1) and Play Whe San Juan Jabloteh (3-2), respectively.
Former England international Terry Fenwick led Central FC to the club’s first ever title, the 2013 First Citizens Cup, and Serbia-born coach Zoran Vranes successfully defended the crystal trophy in 2014. Now all eyes are on T&T coach Ross Russell, as he attempts to navigate the “Couva Sharks” to a third consecutive hold of the title.
Russell, who won the Cup on his debut season as coach of Defence Force, the side he later led to two Digicel Pro League (DPL) championship, oozed in confidence at the launch of this season’s Cup. “It’s no pressure for me. I’ve already won it,” Russell said. “We are looking to stay on top as a club, and I’m going all guns for it, don’t matter where we play or who we play.”
With $110,000 accompanying the crystal trophy to the eventual champions on October 30, Police is also confident of its chances and coach Richard Hood said his team’s aim is to knock Central out.
“Our ambition is to win titles this season and we want to start with the First Citizens Cup. It won’t be easy for Central. We’ve had a good pre-season with an all-round strong squad, and we are quite capable of doing well this season.”
Two-time champions Morvant Caledonia United (MCU) has issued a rallying cry for home support for his team and coach Jerry Moe believes that while the Hasely Crawford Stadium isn’t situated within the communities of Morvant and Laventille, it’s still relatively close to home. “These are the same people who will go to the Hasely Crawford Stadium for a Carnival fete,” Moe said.
“Obviously we can’t bring the stadium to them because pleading to have a venue in our community upgraded (for professional play) seems never ending.”
Despite losing its opening Digicel Pro league match, 2-1 to Jabloteh and his team being in a rebuilding stage, Moe isn’t dismissing his team's chances at this season’s First Citizens Cup. He said, “It’s a trophy that’s there for us. We won it in the past. It carries $110,000 as the champions’ prize, so that’s 110 reasons why we should want to win it.”
The task will not be an easy one for Moe and his team as Defence Force has bolstered its ranks with a few new faces, inclusive of former W Connection standout Hashim Arcia, Levi Serries, Tevon Eve, Kevin Carter, Brandon Fountain, Jamali Garcia and former T&T youth players Andre Marchan, Stephan Campbell, Aaron Enil, and Kishun Seecharan who all underwent recruitment training over the past few months into the team.
Looking ahead to today’s match, Gordon said, “Caledonia versus Defence Force is always a big rivalry, and from all indications Caledonia will present a good challenge like any other team because of the level of competitiveness that’s present in all clubs in the league. “Densill Theobald is back with them as well as Guyana (internationals) Trayon Bobb and Pernell Schultz, while they also have one of ours, Akeem Roach.
“But we are confident in our team for Sunday (today). Although we want to play good attractive football they key is getting the result that will take us into the semi-final round (of the FCC).”
The winner of the Defence Force and Morvant Caledonia United gets the winner of last night’s second quarterfinal at Mahaica Oval, between six-time winners W Connection and Pt Fortin Civic.
St. Ann’s Rangers 1 (Rasheed Simon 60') vs Club Sando 3 (Kevon Woodley 46', 80', 90’+3') (QF 1)
W Connection 3 (Jomal Williams 5', Alvin Jones 9', Shahdon Winchester 56') vs Point Fortin Civic 1 (Glen Sutton 76') (QF 2)
St. Ann’s Rangers: 1.Stefan Berkeley; 2.Shakiyl Phillip, 3.Ryan O’Neil, 4.Jelani Peters (18.Trevin Latapy 83rd), 5.Miguel Romeo (Capt.), 7.Sedale Mc Lean, 8.Kevon Piper (17.Kadeem Hutchinson 70th), 9.Keron Cornwall, 16.Richard Williams, 19.Rasheed Simon (29.Jameel Antoine 88th), 23.Sayid Freitas
Unused substitutes: 6.Shaquille Moses, 14.Jemel Berot, 21.Keon Peters, 22.Christopher Biggette (GK)
Coach: Angus Eve
Club Sando: 34.Kelvin Henry; 4.Anthony Parris (Capt.), 5.Devon Drayton, 6.Kemuel Rivers, 7.Akeem Humphrey, 10.Kevon Neaves, 11.Teba Mc Knight, 26.Kevon Woodley, 17.Jared London, 23.Corneal Thomas, 24.Devon Modeste (26.Shaquille Holder 68th).
Substitutes: 8.Jeromie Williams, 9.Jesse Downing, 14.Anthony De La Rosa, 15.Amrit Gildharry, 21.Kerron Mitchell, 33.Alexei Julien (GK)
Coach: Anthony Streete
Referee: Cecile Hinds
W Connection: 18.Julani Archibald; 2.Kurt Frederick, 3.Gerard Williams, 4.Maurice Ford, 5.Triston Hodge (48.Stiven Lopez Concha 70th), 9.Shahdon Winchester, 10.Jomal Williams (25.Christian Filipe Ocoro Viveros 78th), 11.Neil Benjamin Jr. (17.Aikim Andrews 64th), 14.Andre Toussaint, 16.Alvin Jones (Capt.), 21.Shannon Gomez
Unused substitutes: 1.Terrence Lewis (GK), 13.Kion Joseph, 34.Jabari Mitchell, 36.Nathaniel Brown
Coach: Stuart Charles Fevrier
Point Fortin Civic: 52.Akini Adams; 27.Kern Peters, 2.Garyl Doldron, 11.Tigana Sparks, 19.Andrei Pacheco, 16.Kelvin Modeste (Capt.) (28.Jared Bennet 70th), 12.Glenn Sutton, 8.Akeem Redhead (14.Kerwin Stafford 46th), 7.Nicholson Thomas (6.Jason Joseph 46th), 9.Shackiel Henry, 20.Jamille Boatswain
Unused substitutes: 1.Miles Goodman (GK), 21.Rondell Paul, 17.Kestwin Goolie, 25.Troy Moses
Coach: Leroy De Leon
Referee: Rodphin Harris.