Kadeem Hutchinson last night scored what could arguably stand the most spectacular double in the history of the First Citizens Cup but his San Juan Jabloteh side finished on the losing end after an electrifying quarter-final clash against 10-men defending champions Defence Force.
Club Sando had earlier dispatched Morvant Caledonia United with a 3-1 come-from-behind win in the first game of the quarter-final double-header at the Ato Boldon Stadium to advance to next Friday’s semi-final round where the Oranges will meet the winners of Sunday’s quarter-final clash (3:30pm, Mannie Ramjohn Stadium) between record seven-time champions W Connection and two-time former champions Central FC.
Then in the second game of the night, Devorn Jorsling, the veteran Defence Force talisman and last season’s First Citizens Cup MVP, delivered at the death to level the game at 3-3 before leading the Army/Coast Guard outfit into the semi-finals with a 4-2 win on kicks over Jabloteh.
Defence Force will meet today’s (Saturday, 3:30pm, Larry Gomes Stadium) winners between North East Stars and Point Fortin Civic in the semis.
“We continued to believe and I thought the guys were brilliant tonight,” said Defence Force head coach Marvin Gordon after the final whistle. “I also want to commend Jabloteh because I thought both teams gave supporters a great game tonight.”
The Army/Coast Guard combination had taken a 1-0 lead on 26 minutes when winger Reon Moore completed a wonderful team move with a low drive past Jabloteh number one, Javon Sample.
But Defence Force were reduced to 10 men on the stroke of the half when centre-back Jamali Garcia received his second yellow of the game for upending Keithy Simpson on the edge of the penalty arc.
“I think we started stronger than (Jabloteh),” added Gordon, who described the contest “a classic game.”
“I think calls were going one way—against us. We got some early cards [and] ended up with a red card.
“Jabloteh,” he added. “(…) lifted the tempo a bit (in the second half) and we were down a (player). They gained momentum and scored two great goals. But we continued to believe and dig deep as defending champions.”
Hutchinson lifted Jabloteh in front in the second half with a top-drawer brace – both spectacular volleys within a space of three minutes – after dragging an effort miserably wide from eight yards out, two minutes after replacing Panama midfielder Jairo Lombardo on the hour mark.
Hutchinson, arriving at the back post, thumped a left side Kennedy Hinkson cross past Defence Force goalie Andre Marchan to level the scores at 1-1 in the 69th minute.
Then in the 72nd minute the winger put to shade his earlier strike with an acrobatic scissor-kick to send a right side Jevon Morris cross past Marchan and Jabloteh were in front 2-1.
That lead, however, lasted until the 80th minute when Hashim Arcia, with a composed finish, found the bottom right corner of Sample’s goal to make it 2-2 after being picked out by Jorsling inside the area.
Defence Force then faced the exit when Jabloteh’s Jamaican midfielder Keithy Simpson coolly rolled the ball into the soldiers’ net following a spill by ‘keeper Marchan with four minutes left.
But in the second of four minutes stoppage-time, Jorsling controlled an Arcia pass inside the box and fired past the legs of Sample to level it 3-3 and sending the game into the shootout.
“We got back in the game at two-all then gave away on a blunder,” continued Gordon, whose brave substitutions saw his formation end with three strikers and three defenders despite being a player short.
“We never gave up,” said the Defence Force coach. “I went with another striker and ended up with three strikers, three defenders and then we got the equalizing goal and then we were brilliant from the spot.
“It was either you win or you lose. I couldn’t study defence and I’m down a goal. I believe in [the players] I have going forward.”
Defence Force were the better side on the shootout with Jorsling, Arcia, Curtis Gonzales and late forward substitute Dylon King clinical from the spot.
Elijah Manners and Kennedy Hinkson had kept Jabloteh level until misses by Akeem Benjamin and Nkosi David on the third and fourth kicks respectively, meant First Citizens Cup exit for the San Juan side--like their neighbours Morvant Caledonia.
Caledonia, had taken the lead through veteran playmaker Kerry Daniel, but former captain Akim Armstrong scored twice and set up another scored by Josiah Trimmingham to lift his current employers, Club Sando, into the semis.
Morvant Caledonia, managed by assistant coach Abdallah Phillips on the night in absence with Jamaal Shabazz currently away on international duty with the Trinidad and Tobago U17 Girls Team, broke the deadlock on 33 minutes when Daniel, who capitalised on a giveaway by Sando, escaped his challenger inside the box before firing past goalkeeper Kelvin Henry.
But three minutes later Armstrong wrong-sided opposite goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel from the penalty spot to level the scores 1-1 after referee Cecile Hinds ruled a handball against Joshua Alexander who had attempted to avert danger in the box.
Then Trimmingham, who was denied by the upright less than a minute into play, celebrated three minutes from the half after another surging run forward and exchange with Armstrong to curl a comfortable finish past Samuel to give Sando a 2-1 lead at the interval.
Trimmingham had another effort ten minutes into the second half but sailed his header over Samuel’s crossbar after towering the box to meet a left side corner swung in by Tyrone Charles.
Samuel was brilliant just over the hour mark to deny Armstrong a second from the penalty spot, but Armstrong would celebrate his second goal two minutes from time after swooping in the area to bury a rebound to complete the 3-1 victory.
“It feels good to come away with the win today and advance to the (semi-finals),” said Armstrong who admitted his second penalty attempt “wasn’t the best.”
On scoring twice and assisting in another, Armstrong, who occupies the false nine role, explained, “That’s part of my job. The coach believe me [being] further up the field could contribute better to the team.”
He added, “Against Caledonia is always a difficult task because they are well-prepared, well-coached team. They know how to possess the ball well. So against Caledonia is always challenge. It’s also good to face my old team and come away with a victory.”
Sando coach Angus Eve echoed that Morvant Caledonia are a strong unit but praised his side for keeping shape and professionalism for the victory in the end despite being a bit rusty and short match fitness.
Eve’s side will return to action against W Connection, his potential First Citizens Cup semi-final opponents, in one of three rescheduled Pro League fixtures on Tuesday. San Juan Jabloteh will host Central FC from 4pm at the Barataria Oval; while the Ato Boldon Stadium will come alive again with a double-header when MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers take on Police FC from 6pm before Club Sando and Connection battle from 8pm.
“We are playing W Connection a league game on Tuesday; so we need to take care of that game first,” Eve said. “We are still in the fight—we in third place in the (Pro) League so we want to do well in that tournament.”
As for the First Citizens Cup semis, the Sando coach said, “We have to wait and see who would win that game [between Connection and Central].”
Club Sando 3 (Akim Armstrong 36’ pen., 88’, Josiah Trimmingham 42’) vs Morvant Caledonia United 1 (Kerry Daniel 33’), (C), at the Ato Boldon Stadium;
Defence Force 3 (4) (Reon Moore 26’, Hashim Arcia 80’, Devorn Jorsling 90’+1) vs San Juan Jabloteh 3 (2) (Kadeem Hutchinson 69’, 72’, Keithy Simpson 86’), (D), 8pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;
(Defence Force won the game 4-2 on kicks from the penalty mark).
Kicks from the penalty mark
Defence Force 4 v San Juan Jabloteh 2
Devorn Jorsling (scored) - Elijah Manners (scored)
Hashim Arcia (scored) - Kennedy Hinkson (scored)
Curtis Gonzales (scored) - Akeem Benjamin (overbar)
Dylon King (scored) - Nkosi David (overbar)
Upcoming Quarter Final Round matches
(Saturday 14 October 2017)
North East Stars vs Point Fortin Civic, (A), 3:30pm, Larry Gomes Stadium.
(Sunday 15 October 2017)
W Connection vs Central FC, (B), 3:30pm, Mannie Ramjohn Stadium.
Club Sando: 34.Kelvin Henry (GK); 6.Kemuel Rivers, 10.Keron Cornwall (66th minute), 11.Akim Armstrong (5.Nical Stephens 89th minute), 12.Michael Basdeo, 13.Tyrone Charles (Yellow Card) (35.Adan Noel 75th minute), 16.Leslie Joel Russell (27.Jay-son Joseph 63rd minute), 17.Jarod London, 18.Trevin Latapy, 23.Nicholas Thomas, 38.Josiah Trimmingham.
Unused substitutes: 1.Stefan Berkeley (GK); 9.Akeem Redhead, 15.Keyon Edwards, 21.Malique Quow.
Coach: Angus Eve
Morvant Caledonia United: 1.Glenroy Samuel (GK); 5.Joshua Sylvester, 8.Anthony Charles (23.Lester Joseph 70th minute), 10.Sheldon Holder, 11.Quincy Ballah, 12.Kareem Joseph (Capt.), 13.Rufuson Pierre Louis, 15.Otev Lawrence, 17.Kerry Daniel (28.Renaldo Francois 70th minute), 18.Masetro Mensah, 22.Joshua Alexander (Yellow Card) (3.Richard Williams 79th minute).
Unused substitutes: 31.De Journ Charles (GK); 6.Taje Commissiong, 9.Sedale Mc Lean, 29.Kelsey Benjamin.
Coach: Abdallah Phillips
Referee: Cecile Hinds
Defence Force FC: 1.Andre Marchan (GK); 3.Jamali Garcia (Yellow Card+Yellow Card=Red Card), 4.Dave Long (39.Akil Morris 77th minute), 5.Jerome Mc Intyre, 9.Devorn Jorsling, 10.Hashim Arcia, 13.Marvin Jones, 17.Curtis Gonzales, 18.Reon Moore (16.Kellon Serrette 78th minute), 26.Justin Garcia (Yellow Card) (45.Dylon King 90th minute), 99.Jerwyn Balthazar (Capt.).
Unused substitutes: 25.Sheldon Clarke (GK); 2.Glynn Franklyn, 19.Thurlani George, 32.Jameel Cooper.
San Juan Jabloteh: 1.Javon Sample (GK); 3.DeJon Waldropt (6.Akeem Benjamin 50th minute), 4.Nkosi David, 7.Elijah Manners (Capt.) (Yellow Card), 9.Keithy Simpson, 12.Keron Bethelmy, 15.Jesus Perez, 16.Jairo Lombardo (22.Kadeem Hutchinson 60th minute), 17.Sean Bonval (13.Julio Noel 68th minute), 18.Jevon Morris, 23.Kennedy Hinkson.
Unused substitutes: 30.Shemel Louison (GK); 8.Elijah Downy, 19.Shawndel Augustus.
Coach: Keith Jeffrey
Referee: Rashby Mc Phie