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Morvant Caledonia United are into the semi-finals of the 2016 First Citizens Cup. The two-time former champions edged Central FC 3-2 in a penalty shootout following a goalless draw in their quarter-final clash on Sunday in Morvant.

Morvant Caledonia, back-to-back champions in 2011 and 2012 under their previous name Caledonia AIA, advances into the Nov. 22 semi-finals against Defence Force, who climbed from the play-offs with a 1-0 win over Club Sando last Tuesday then defeated St. Ann’s Rangers 4-2 courtesy a Devorn Jorsling beaver-trick in their QF clash on Friday.

Central FC, current Digicel Pro League leaders and First Citizens Cup champions of 2013 and 2014, were unable to hold their nerves from the spot after slugging it out to a stalemate and paid the ultimate price of defeat—their first in all domestic competitions this season—in front of thousands at the Morvant Recreation Ground.

Stephon Seepersad’s opening save in the shootout to deny Central’s Jason Marcano, coupled with clinical finishing from the spot by teammates Kareem Joseph, Lester Joseph and Jameel Neptune against Couva Sharks goalkeeper Javon Sample earned Morvant Caledonia their first ever win in front of home supporters after three attempts.

Central midfielders Darren Mitchell and Leston Paul beat the glove of Seepersad on the second and third kicks and ‘keeper Javon Sample denied Morvant Caledonia’s Akim Armstrong.

But it wasn’t enough to avoid defeat with after Keron Cummings had skied his kick overbar and Sean De Silva, who had rocked the Morvant Caledonia crossbar on the half hour mark, followed suit in the visitors’ fourth and fifth kicks, respectively to set off the Morvant after-party which included a performance by local dancehall sensation and Morvant resident, Pternsky (Ronny Boyce), whose hits include None Stop, Bubble and F.A.X..

“It’s a tremendous joy to reward the people of Morvant,” Morvant Caledonia United head coach Rajesh Latchoo told www.ttproleague.com. “In the game before when we scored [at the death] to draw 1-1 with Defence Force in the league [on Nov. 6], we saw the reaction of the people. They were jumping together, the rastas were hugging bald heads and the indo-Trinidadians and afro-Trinidadians were celebrating together. It was clear the people of Morvant finally have something to support.

“Our players understand now what it is to represent a community -- not just their family and friends -- and today the support here in Morvant was our 12th man.

“This was the dream of our owner (Jamaal Shabazz) for many years, to truly represent the community in which he and the club belongs. Now the dream is to have a stadium in Morvant where our players can train, have video sessions, and somewhere to fully call home.”

Central were left ruing their missed chances which included two point blank openings which fell to Kadeem Corbin and Marcano within the first seven minutes following right side moves involving Cummings.

Mitchell admitted it was a tough contest, but dismissed the notion that his teammates were intimidated by the huge Morvant crowd, which by far surpassed averages ranging between 2,500 and 3,000 in two previous turnouts.

“We are accustomed to playing against teams with thousands of supporters like we did in the Concacaf Champions League,” said the Central FC captain. “The crowd is tremendous here [in Morvant] but I think it was just a situation where we lacked concentration on the kicks. During the game it was very tough because they (Morvant Caledonia) sat deep and tried to play on the break.”

“I was really confident,” said the 20-year-old rookie Seepersad, who started in goal in absence of ‘keeper Marvin Phillip, who, like Central first choice goalie Jan-Michael Williams and forward Marcus Joseph are with the Trinidad and Tobago national team for Tuesday’s World Cup 2018 qualifier away to Honduras.

Seepersad, whose grandparents are from Morvant, had also done well in tracking Mitchell and Paul’s efforts despite conceding.

“I work hard in training and it was my time when called upon in the penalties,” Seepersad added. “I also had confidence in my teammates to do their part on the kicks and together we rewarded the people of Morvant for their support. The ambition is to go all the way to the title.”

Quarter-final action continues today (Monday Nov. 14) with Police FC against Point Fortin Civic from 6pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium to decide the final semi-final berth. The winners will meet Ma Pau Stars, who ousted former champions San Juan Jabloteh 3-1 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in the play-offs then outshined holders and seven-time champions W Connection 3-0 in another penalty shootout following a goalless draw in their QF clash. 

First Citizens Cup 2016
Play-off Round
(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)

St. Ann’s Rangers 2 (Dylon King 53’, Marvin Lee 72’) vs Defence Force 4 (Devorn Jorsling 11’ pen, 19’, 50’, 84’), at the Ato Boldon Stadium;

W Connection 0 vs Ma Pau Stars 0
Ma Pau Stars won 3-0 on kicks from the penalty mark at the Ato Boldon Stadium.

Kicks from the penalty spot
W Connection 0                   Ma Pau Stars 3

Hughtun Hector (saved)      Kerry Baptiste (scored)
Alvin Jones (post)                 Carlos Edwards (scored)
Kurt Frederick (post)            Hayden Tinto (scored)

(Sunday, November 13, 2016)
Central FC 0 vs Morvant Caledonia United 0
Morvant Caledonia won 3-2 on kicks from the penalty spot at the Morvant Recreation Ground.

Kicks from the penalty spot
Central FC 2                          Morvant Caledonia United 3

Jason Marcano (saved)        Kareem Joseph (scored)
Leston Paul (scored)            Lester Joseph (scored)
Darren Mitchell (scored)      Jameel Neptune (scored)
Keron Cummings (overbar)  Akim Armstrong (saved)
Sean De Silva (overbar)

(Monday, November 14, 2016)
Ato Boldon Stadium

Police FC vs Point Fortin Civic—6pm (A)

Semi Final Round
(November 22)

A vs Ma Pau Stars
Morvant Caledonia United vs Defence Force

Final
(December 2)

Teams at the Morvant Recreation Ground on Sunday

Central FC: 1.Javon Sample (GK), 3.Keion Goodridge, 4.Andre Ettienne, 6.Leston Paul, 7.Jason Marcano, 8.Sean De Silva, 10.Keron Cummings, 11.Darren Mitchell (Capt.), 16.Kadeem Corbin (17.Johan Peltier 67th minute), 19.Nathan Garcia (Yellow Card), 26.Mickaeel Jem Gordon.

Unused substitutes: 1.Javon Sample (GK), 5.Keston George, 14.Nicholas Dillon, 18.Rondell Gibson, 24.Kevon Villaroel.

Coach: Dale Saunders

Morvant Caledonia United: 30.Stephon Seepersad (GK), 4.Ordell Flemming, 5.Seon Thomas, 6.Taje Commissiong, 7.Kordell Samuel (23.Lester Joseph 83rd minute), 12.Kareem Joseph, 13.Jordan Devonish (9.Jair Edwards 60th minute), 14.Keron Bethelmy, 17.Akim Armstrong, 21.Densill Theobald, 22.Jameel Neptune.

Unused substitutes: 8.Anthony Charles, 11.Dominic Douglas, 15.Otev Lawrence, 18.Maestro Mensah, 31.Hakeem Lukas (GK).

Coach: Rajesh Latchoo

Referee: Gyasi Mc Donald
Assistant Referee 1: Glen Kevin Charles
Assistant Referee 2: Kyle Carabon
Fourth Official: Marlon Peruse