Defence Force are one win away from a third First Citizens Cup crowning thanks to a comprehensive hat-trick by striker Devorn Jorsling, taking his tally to an astounding seven goals in 2016 edition, to dispatch Courts Morvant Caledonia United 3-0 in Sunday’s semi-final double-header at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
But the Army/Coast Guard combination are against former recruit Glenroy Samuel—a goalie determined to prove his worth to the Trinidad and Tobago national team selectors—and Ma Pau Stars in the 2016 final on 2 December.
This after Ma Pau Stars booked their place in the final with a 3-2 penalty shoot-out win over Police FC following an enthralling 3-3 draw in semi-final two at the Couva venue.
Samuel, for a third time consecutive time in the tournament after penalty wins over San Juan Jabloteh and last season’s champions W Connection, in the playoff and quarter-finals, respectively, had rescued Ma Pau Stars in a shoot-out.
The 26-year-old former T&T Youth World Cup goalie went one better than current Soca Warriors’ third choice ‘keeper Adrian Foncette by denying Police kickers Christon Thomas and Elijah Belgrave on the second and final kicks, respectively, all after proving too big for Todd Ryan who struck the crossbar on the Lawmen’s first kick.
Hayden Tinto was denied by Foncette and Neil Gerard Mitchell struck over, in the third and fourth Ma Pau kicks, respectively, but Kerry Baptiste, Carlos Edwards and Keryn Navarro, in that order, were clinical from the spot for coach Ross Russell’s side.
Defenders Ryan O’Neil and goal scorer Jibri Mc David were solid from the spot for Police who had first taken the lead in open play.
Mc David had struck past Samuel from close up for a 1-0 lead on 34 minutes from a headed-on Christon Thomas free-kick.
Ma Pau, though, were back on level terms three minutes later when Police defender Nequan Caruth handled a Jason Scotland cross into his own net to put the scores at 1-1.
But Belgrave, occupying an attacking role, restored coach Richard Hood’s side’s advantage 2-1 into the break. The ox-built utility player towered in the Ma Pau area to powerfully head past Samuel off a Thomas corner.
The entertaining contest was far from over and Police surrendered the lead seven minutes into the second half after allowing Scotland to swooped in and bury the ball past Foncette, who spilled an effort from Tinto.
Police were guilty of poor marking again in the 79th minute when Jerrel Britto headed into space before Scotland coolly lobbed a hapless Foncette to complete his double and put Ma Pau in front the first time, 3-2.
Police were determined to find a way back, and after forcing no less than five superb saves out of Samuel in the second half, the Lawmen finally equalised for a 3-3 score five minutes from time when Belgrave headed into the far netting from a Kareem Freitas cross.
Belgrave, however, was unable to beat Samuel on his side’s fifth and final kick of the shoot-out and Ma Pau, who were lucky not to concede in the 84th minute when Freitas spilled wide at the goalmouth, burst into celebrations.
For Defence Force, though, the semi-final stage seemed simpler with a herculean Jorsling performance against his Morvant hometown club, he once represented.
The 32-year-old ex-T&T international broke the deadlock with a superb free-kick that entered the top corner, beating goalkeeper Marvin Phillip, who was at full stretch on the stroke of half-time.
Jorsling, who scored a beaver-trick in his team’s 4-2 quarter-final win over St. Ann’s Rangers a week ago, made it 2-0 less than a minute into the second half by rolling a shot past the Morvant Caledonia number one and Soca Warriors second choice ‘keeper after holding off defender Taje Commissiong inside the area.
Jorsling, who was denied a third by Phillip just before the hour mark, completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot in the 68th minute. The all-time leading Pro League scorer put his effort out of Phillip’s full stretch and into the top corner for a 3-0 score after a handball was ruled against Morvant Caledonia defender Seon Thomas.
Moments later Morvant Caledonia’s vocal assistant coach Abdallah Phillips was no longer on the touch line. The former Caledonia player was ejected from the technical area by referee Gyasi Mc Donald over his protest following a crunching tackle on forward Kordell Samuel by Justin Garcia in the middle of the field.
But by then there was little head coach Rajesh Latchoo could have done in his side’s schooling.
Luckily for Morvant Caledonia, champions in 2011 and 2012, the end result could have been crueller.
Hashim Arcia had two excellent openings on either side of the break for the soldiers, one of which was cleared at the goalmouth midway through the first half. And team leader Jerwyn Balthazar saw his attempt cleared off the line by Morvant Caledonia substitute Dominic Douglas in the 83rd minute before Phillip produced an excellent save on the midfielder’s second attempt after a mesmerizing Jamali Garcia run kept the attack alive.
Defence Force, First Citizens Cup champions of 2002 and 2009, and later victors Ma Pau Stars both walked away $7,000 richer following their semi-final round wins due to, new this season, cash bonuses courtesy of title sponsors First Citizens for each win throughout the tournament, which saw winners in the quarter-final and playoff rounds earn $5,000 and $3,000 respectively.
The real withdrawal, though, happens on Friday 2 December when the champions receive $110,000 while $20,000 goes to the runners-up.
First Citizens Cup 2016
(Friday 2 December)
First Citizens Cup 2016 results
SEMI FINAL ROUND
(Sunday 27 November)
Morvant Caledonia United 0 vs Defence Force 3 (Devorn Jorsling 45’, 46’, 68’ pen.), at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Police FC 3 (Jibri Mc David 34’, Elijah Belgrave 45’+. 85’) vs Ma Pau Stars 3 (Nequan Caruth 37’ Own Goal, Jason Scotland 52’, 79’)
Ma Pau Stars won the game 3-2 on kicks from the penalty spot, at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
Kicks from the spot
Ma Pau Stars 3 Police FC 2
Kerry Batiste (scored) Todd Ryan (crossbar)
Carlos Edwards (scored) Christon Thomas (saved)
Hayden Tinto (saved) Ryan O’Neil (scored)
Neil Gerard Mitchell (overbar) Jibri Mc David (scored)
Keryn Navarro (scored) Elijah Belgrave (saved)
QUARTER FINAL ROUND
(Monday 14 November)
Police FC 4 (Kadeem Riley 3’, 84’ Micah Lewis 23’, Christon Thomas 87’) vs Point Fortin Civic 1 (Jamille Boatswain 42’), at Ato Boldon Stadium.
(Sunday 13 November)
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)
(Saturday 12 November)
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 spot, 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)
(Tuesday 8 November)
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)
Teams at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Sunday
SEMI FINAL ONE
Morvant Caledonia United: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK), 4.Ordell Flemming, 5.Seon Thomas, 6.Taje Commissiong, 7.Kordell Samuel (11.Dominic Douglas 82nd minute), 10.Sheldon Holder, 12.Kareem Joseph, 14.Keron Bethelmy (23.Lester Joseph 74th minute), 17.Akim Armstrong, 21.Densill Theobald, 22.Jameel Neptune.
Unused substitutes: 13.Jordan Devonish, 15.Otev Lawrence, 16.Amos Ramsay, 18.Maestro Mensah, 30.Stephon Seepersad (GK).
Coach: Rajesh Latchoo
Defence Force: 1.Andre Marchan (GK), 3.Jamali Garcia, 8.Christopher Durity, 9.Devorn Jorsling (14.Darryl Trim 85th minute), 10.Hashim Arcia (37.Cassim Kellar 78th minute), 13.Marvin Jones, 17.Curtis Gonzales, 19.Thurlani George (6.Rodell Elcock 37th minute) (Yellow Card), 21.Aklie Edwards, 26.Justin Garcia (Yellow Card), 99.Jerwyn Balthazar (Capt.).
Unused substitutes: 25.Sheldon Clarke (GK), 5.Devin Jordan, 22.Anthony Charles, 35.Tirek George.
Coach: Marvin Gordon
Referee: Gyasi Mc Donald
Assistant Referee 1: Caleb Wales
Assistant Referee 2: Kevin Lewis
Fourth Official: Marlon Peruse
SEMI FINAL TWO
Police FC: 18.Adrian Foncette (GK), 3.Ryan O’Neil, 6.Jibri Mc David, 10.Kareem Freitas (Yellow Card), 16.Keion Wilson (23.Micah Lewis 75th minute), 17.Dexter Alleyne, 19.Christon Thomas, 20.Elijah Belgrave, 21.Todd Ryan (Capt.), 25.Kenaz Williams (14.Kaaron Foster 80th minute), 38.Nequan Caruth.
Unused substitutes: 2.Akeil Thomas, 12.Kareem Riley, 13.Dillon Kirton, 22.Theon Browne (GK), 39.Joshua Leach.
Coach: Richard Hood
Ma Pau Stars: 22.Glenroy Samuel (GK), 2.Carlos Edwards (Capt.), 5.Taryk Sampson, 7.Kerry Daniel (4.Kerry Baptiste 65th minute), 9.Jason Scotland, 10.Jerrel Britto (Yellow Card) (12.Sayid Freitas 90th minute), 11.Elton John, 17.Hayden Tinto, 19.Glenton Wolffe, 21.Neil Gibson Mitchell (6.Neil Gerard Mitchell 54th minute), 25.Keryn Navarro.
Unused substitutes: 1.Shane Mattis (GK), 8.Adrian Noel, 16.Kareem Eastman, 20.Quincy Charles.
Coach: Ross Russell
Referee: Rashby Mc Phie
Assistant Referee 1: Ainsley Rochard
Assistant Referee 2: Marlon Peruse
Fourth Official: Keilon Bacchus