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Kareem Freitas struck two goals and an assist scored by another double-scorer Jameel Perry as Police FC kicked off their 2018 campaign with a fashionable 5-1 over North East Stars to lead the 2018 First Citizens Cup Abercrombie Group after yesterday’s day one double-header at Ato Boldon Stadium.

The Lawmen (3 points), however, are only ahead of W Connection by goal-difference after the defending champions escaped with full points courtesy a late Kurt Frederick strike against a stubborn Point Fortin Civic outfit which relinquished an early two-goal cushion and ended on the wrong side of a 3-2 loss.

“Civic are coming to run us hard,” a female staff member of Connection said before kick-off. “Spanish (referring to Trinidad and Tobago national team midfielder Nathaniel Garcia) and they talking it all evening.”

Defender Ronell Paul stunned his former employers, Connection, to mark his return to Civic with a well-taken header past goalkeeper Jason Belfon on two minutes, and seven minutes later another former Connection player, Jabari Mitchell, converted from the penalty spot to make it 2-0.

But ex-Civic star Marcus Joseph fired back for Connection against his hometown club with an uninterrupted double—almost identical strikes to beat goalkeeper Miles Goodman twice in a space of ten minutes to subdue the Point Fortin side’s aggressive start and put coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier’s Savonetta Boys back on level terms 2-2.

Earlier Goodman had earlier produced a fine save to put behind a low Joseph attempt. But the talented forward, who had sent another effort inches wide, first redeemed himself by sending a composed left-footed shot into the far bottom corner of Goodman’s net from the right on 22 minutes. Then, off the right boot found the same spot in the 32nd minute to put his tally at five goals in two games after last week’s hat-trick in a 7-1 Charity Shield win over Pro League championship holders North East Stars.

“It’s a good start for his confidence because if he has to be on the (Trinidad and Tobago) national team he has to continue scoring,” said Connection assistant coach Earl Jean following the win. “He has been working a lot on his finishing and tonight he had a good game. He was all over. The ball was coming to him.”

Three excellent chances had followed the Connection star in the second half but it was left-back Frederick who would snatch the 3-2 winner with four minutes left (and a man short after Dimitri Apai was stretchered off injured) in a rare move forward and a barrage of chances including a shot from substitute Adan Noel which cannoned off the upright.

Jean explained, “We are always trying to get more out of Frederick because he is an exceptional player and has the ability to score goals.

“It was a good game for the fans, for football; two good teams going against each other tactically. (Civic coach Reynold) Carrington knows our systems, knows how we play (because) he had been part of us. It was a very difficult game but what was good is that we scored when we had just ten men. It showed the fight of the team, the spirit. I like the attitude of the players they give everything.”

Goal scorer Frederick meanwhile said he was happy to redeem himself after giving away a free kick that led to Civic’s opening goal.

In the earlier contest, an almost lopsided one, Police stormed to a 3-0 lead within the first half hour against a North East Stars side that are said to be rebuilding for the future under new coach Zoran Vranes.

Freitas fired the Lawmen in front in the 16th minute with a close up volley past goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel, who conceded another a minute later as Kadeem Riley raced off near the touchline to celebrate with teammates in similar fashion.

Both players combined for the Richard Hood-coached side’s third item in the 29th minute when Freitas completed his double by heading past Samuel off a right side corner swung in by Riley.

Freitas then turned provider for Perry (J) to celebrate his first on the night on the hour mark for a 4-0 score before Kyle Bartholomew pulled a goal back for North East Stars by beating his challenger in the air to head past T&T national team and Police ‘keeper Adrian Foncette.

Perry (J), though, made it a 5-1 finish when he got to his double in the 85th minute with a diving header on a cross from younger brother Kareem Perry to beat, once more, Samuel who had denied him moments earlier with a world-class save.

First Citizens Cup 2018  - Match Day One results

Abercrombie Group

North East Stars 1 (Kyle Bartholomew 66th minute) vs Police FC 5 (Kareem Freitas 16’, 29’, Kadeem Riley 17’, Jameel Perry 53’, 85’), at Ato Boldon Stadium;

Point Fortin Civic 2 (Ronell Paul 2’, Jabari Mitchell 9’ pen.) vs W Connection 3 (Marcus Joseph 22’, 32’, Kurt Frederick 86’), at Ato Boldon Stadium.

Abercrombie Group

Rank Team MP W D L GF GA GD Pts.
1 Police FC 1 1 0 0 5 1 4 3
2 W Connection 1 1 0 0 3 2 1 3
3 Morvant Caledonia United 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Point Fortin Civic 1 0 0 1 2 3 -1 0
5 North East Stars 1 0 0 1 1 5 -4 0

Upcoming matches - (Sunday 10 June 2018)

Immortelle Group

MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers vs Central FC, 4pm, at Ato Boldon Stadium;
San Juan Jabloteh vs Defence Force FC, 6pm, at Ato Boldon Stadium.

Immortelle Group

Rank Team MP W D L GF GA GD Pts.
0 Central FC 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 Club Sando 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 Defence Force FC 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 San Juan Jabloteh 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Teams

Point Fortin Civic: 22.Miles Goodman (GK); 7.Hughtun Hector (Capt.), 8.Jamal John (30.Nion Lammy 74th minute), 10.Jabari Mitchell, 11.Akeem Redhead, 19.Nathaniel Garcia, 20.Bevon Bass, 21.Ronell Paul, 26.Jeremiah Kesar (6.Judah Garcia 58th minute), 27.Darnell Hospedales, 33.Justin Sadoo.

Unused substitutes: 1.Jasse Aguilera (GK); 5.Justin Cornwall, 14.Shaquille John, 17.Kestwin Goolie, 25.Shaquille Dublin.

Coach: Reynold Carrington

W Connection: 33.Jason Belfon (GK), 2.Kurt Frederick, 3.Gerard Williams, 5.Triston Hodge, 6.Kevon Goddard, 9.Kadeem Corbin (27.Kierron Mason 67th minute), 10.Dimitri Apai, 19.Briel Thomas (8.Jameel Antoine 80th minute), 20.Daniel Diaz (11.Adan Noel 53rd minute), 26.Isaiah Garcia, 99.Marcus Joseph.

Unused substitutes: 18.Julani Archibald (GK); 15.Otev Lawrence 23.Kennedy Hinkson, 24.Yohannes Richardson.

Coach: Stuart Charles-Fevrier

Referee: Rodphin Harris

Teams

North East Stars: 1.Glenroy Samuel (GK); 2.Jabari Brathwaite, 4.Sean Bateau (Capt.), 7.Hayden Tinto, 11.Kyle Bartholomew, 12.Tyrell Jobe, 15.Lashawn Roberts, 16.Daniel La Croix (6.Adrian Noel 29th minute), 17.Shaqkeem Joseph, 18.Josiah Daniel (23.Sherwyn Williams 53rd minute), 20.Jaden Prowell.

Unused substitutes: 21.Javon Sample (GK).

Coach: Zoran Vranes

Police FC: 18.Adrian Foncette (GK) (Capt.); 3.Ryan O’Neil, 5.Kenaz Williams, 8.Kurdell Brathwaite, 9.Jameel Perry, 10.Kareem Freitas, 14.Caleb Sturge, 21.Todd Ryan (25.Kaashif Thomas 68th minute), 26.Travis Joseph (7Kareem Perry 15th minute), 29.Clevon Mc Fee, 36.Kadeem Riley (16.Joshua Leach 60th minute).

Unused substitutes: 22.Theon Browne (GK); 4.Kadeem Boyce, 13.Dillon Kirton, 33.Kemron Purcell.

Coach: Richard Hood

Referee: Keilon Bacchus