Former Trinidad and Tobago Youth World Cup goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel was in remarkable form on Tuesday night with three saves in a penalty shootout to send Ma Pau Stars into the quarter-finals of the 2016 First Citizens Cup.
Ma Pau finished 3-1 winners over San Juan Jabloteh thanks to the brilliance of their goalkeeper on kicks from the spot following a 1-1 draw in the second game of a play-off double-header at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
Defence Force, in the earlier play-off, thanks to a second half Hashim Arcia strike, edged Club Sando 1-0 despite losing attacker Darryl Trim to a direct red card moments before the break.
Two-time former champions Defence Force advances into the quarter-final play on Saturday against St. Ann’s Rangers from 4pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium followed by Ma Pau Stars against First Citizens Cup holders and seven-time champions W Connection from 6pm, all determined by a random draw.
And as part of an increased prize money scheme in the First Citizens Cup, which will see bonuses for each win throughout the tournament, both play-off winners walked away $3,000 richer.
Quarter-final action continues on Sunday with two-time champions Central FC against Morvant Caledonia United from 3:30pm at the Morvant Recreation Ground, and on Monday, Police FC and Point Fortin Civic will tackle each other from 6pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
Jabloteh, who tied the game nine minutes from time through substitute Kennedy Hinkson, had a solid start in the shootout. Goalkeeper Andrew Durant had denied Stars’ midfielder Elton John before defender Josiah Trimmingham powered the San Juan club’s first kick past Samuel.
But Samuel, who was unlucky to concede the equaliser after getting glove to Hinkson’s header—only to see it crash off the upright before entering at the opposite end—went on to deny Tyrone Charles, who curled an attempt inches wide during regular time, Nathan Lewis and Kion Joseph in the shootout.
Neil Mitchell, Keryn Navarro and Haydon Tinto were clinical from the spot for Ma Pau Stars who had led the game on 57 minutes through Kerry Daniel.
Daniel rounded off a wonderful team move by firing past Durant on a rebound after the former Guyana shot-stopper had flung himself to keep out a crack from Hayden Tinto.
Kareem Baptiste had initiated the attack from the Stars half after escaping two challenges before finding Kerry Baptiste, who slipped a pass wide to Jerrel Britto. Britto then provided the telling cross for Tinto to create the initial scoring opportunity.
Britto, who failed to put the Stars ahead after 10 minutes, had a breakaway ten minutes from time with Jabloteh captain Damian Williams and defender Jevon Morris in chase but anxiously guided left-footed attempt wide of Durant’s far upright.
Soon after Ma Pau were made to pay when Hinkson equalised with a low header after Jabloteh increased the tempo through the arrival of speedy winger Nathan Lewis off the bench for his first appearance this season since being shot in the shoulder during a drive-by shooting in his Maloney hometown last September.
Jabloteh head coach Keith Jeffrey had summoned Lewis soon after conceding.
However, with Samuel keen on making a statement intended for Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart ahead of two upcoming World Cup 2018 qualifying matches against Costa Rica (November 11, home) and Honduras (November 15, away), it just wasn’t Jabloteh’s night after all.
“I just wanted to show coach Hart that a good goalkeeper in Trinidad isn’t selected [for the qualifiers] and I hope he would take a closer look at me,” said Samuel, T&T’s goalkeeper at both the 2007 FIFA Under-17 and 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Cups.
Samuel was selected as a third choice goalie behind regulars Jan-Michael Williams and Marvin Phillip by Hart for a four-nation Cup in Saudi Arabia in Sep. 2013.
The 26-year-old former Joe Public and Caledonia AIA goalie was also selected as third choice behind Phillip and Adrian Foncette for a three-game Soca Warriors friendly tour against Uruguay, Peru and China between May 23 and June 3 this year and back then Hart was quoted as saying, “(…)it’s a good for him (Glenroy) to push for selection.”
For now, though, Samuel said he is committed on improving as a goalkeeper and credits the support of his mother, Donna Samuel, his Ma Pau teammates, coaching staff, and supporters of the Sangre Grande based club.
Earlier at the Couva venue on Tuesday night, Arcia’s second half strike made the difference for Defence Force as coach Marvin Gordon’s side progressed to next weekend’s quarter-final play at the expense of Sando.
Defence Force had finally made use of their possession advantage eight minutes inside the second period when Arcia, who had earlier attempts on either side of the break, steered home a Jemel Sebro cross past Sando goalkeeper Stefan Berkeley.
“The game got even more exciting when we went down a player,” said Defence Force hard-man Curtis Gonzales. “That’s the sort of challenge Defence Force rise to. It brought out the soldier in us knowing we had to work extra hard. It was a plus for us and we came away with the result we wanted.”
Trim, only on his second appearance for Defence Force, was given his marching orders by referee Gyasi Mc Donald two minutes from the break with a direct red card for a challenge on Sando’s defensive midfielder Jared London.
Less than two minutes into the second half Sando’s Sharkeel Donatien was lucky, only seeing yellow out of Mc Donald’s pocket after a rash challenge on Gonzales.
Sando coach Angus Eve had responded immediately after conceding, by replacing forward Anthony Guppy with former Defence Force attacker Akeem Roach—and the 20-year-old along with forwards Kevon Piper and Keron Cornwall, both also off the bench, did give Sando the needed lift, but not the required goals.
Defence Force were resolute in their defending, while Devorn Jorsling was enough to cause problems at the back for Sando as the lone man up front.
First Citizens Cup 2016
(Tuesday, November 8, 2016)
Club Sando 0 vs Defence Force 1 (Hashim Arcia 53’), at the Ato Boldon Stadium;
San Juan Jabloteh 1 (Kennedy Hinkson 81’) vs Ma Pau Stars 1 (Kerry Daniel 57’)
Ma Pau Stars won the game 3-1 on kicks from the penalty mark, at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
Kicks from the penalty spot
Ma Pau Stars 3 San Juan Jabloteh 1
Elton John (saved) Josiah Trimmingham (scored)
Neil Mitchell (scored) Tyrone Charles (saved)
Keryn Navarro (scored) Nathan Lewis (saved)
Hayden Tinto (scored) Kion Joseph (saved)
Quarter Final Round
(Saturday, November 12, 2016)
Ato Boldon Stadium
Defence Force vs St. Ann’s Rangers—4pm (C)
W Connection vs Ma Pau Stars—6pm (D)
(Sunday, November 13, 2016)
Morvant Recreation Ground
Central FC vs Morvant Caledonia United—3:30pm (B)
Ato Boldon Stadium
(Monday, November 14, 2016)
Police FC vs Point Fortin Civic—6pm (A)
Semi Final Round
A vs D
B vs C
Teams at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Tuesday
Club Sando: 1.Stefan Berkeley (GK), 7.Akeem Humphrey (Capt.), 10.Shaquille Holder, 14.Anthony Guppy (13.Akeem Roach 54th minute), 15.Kaashif Thomas (8.Kevon Piper 64th minute), 16.Anderson Toussaint (Yellow Card), 17.Jared London (9.Keron Cornwall 68th minute), 19.Leslie Joel Russell, 21.Sharkeel Donatien (Yellow Card), 23.Nicholas Thomas, 29.Keithy Simpson.
Unused substitutes: 34.Kelvin Henry (GK), 11.Joel Kevin Lewis, 12.Michael Basdeo.
Coach: Angus Eve
Defence Force: 25.Sheldon Clarke (GK), 3.Jamali Garcia, 9.Devorn Jorsling (2.Glynn Franklyn 93rd minute), 10.Hashim Arcia (37.Cassim Kellar 79th minute), 12.Jemel Sebro (19.Thurlani George 71st minute), 13.Marvin Jones, 14.Darryl Trim (Red Card), 17.Curtis Gonzales, 21.Aklie Edwards, 26.Justin Garcia, 99.Jerwyn Balthazar (Capt.).
Unused substitutes: 1.Andre Marchan (GK), 15.Brandon Fountain, 22.Anthony Charles, 35.Tirek George
Coach: Marvin Gordon
Referee: Gyasi Mc Donald
Assistant Referee 1: Glen Kevin Charles
Assistant Referee 2: Kyle Carabon
Fourth Official: Nicholai Nyron
San Juan Jabloteh: 35.Andrew Durant (GK), 5.Elijah Manners (27.Nathan Lewis 62nd minute), 7.Jamal Gay, 8.Keyon Edwards (12.Kion Joseph 62nd minute), 10.Tyrone Charles, 11.Damian Williams (Capt.), 16.Brent Sam (23.Kennedy Hinkson 74th minute), 17.Josiah Trimmingham, 18.Jevon Morris, 19.Noel Williams, 21.Aquil Selby (Yellow Card).
Unused substitutes: 36.Raheem Belgrave (GK), 6.Akeem Benjamin, 15.Jerome Mc Intyre.
Coach: Keith Jeffrey
Ma Pau Stars: 22.Glenroy Samuel (GK), 2.Carlos Edwards (Capt.), 4.Kerry Baptiste (6.Neil Mitchell 64th minute), 7.Kerry Daniel, 10.Jerrel Britto, 11.Elton John, 16.Kareem Eastman, 17.Haydon Tinto, 19.Glenton Wolffe, 21.Neil Mitchell (14.Chike Sullivan 64th minute), 25.Keryn Navarro.
Unused substitutes: 1.Shane Mattis (GK), 5.Taryk Sampson, 8.Adrian Noel, 9.Jason Scotland, 12.Sayid Freitas.
Coach: Ross Russell
Referee: Gordon Maloney
Assistant Referee 1: Kevin Lewis
Assistant Referee 2: Johann Corneille
Fourth Official: Joel Cox