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Photo: Defence Force defender Jamali Garcia (#3) tries to stop a run by Central FC’s Jameel Neptune during their group stage clash of the First Citizens Cup at Ato Boldon Stadium on Jun. 22, 2018. (Courtesy First Citizens/CAI/Allan V. Crane)
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Defence Force FC and Central FC - The Sharks are through to the semi-finals of the 2018 First Citizens Cup carded for July 13 after finishing Immortelle Group winners and runners-up, respectively, during Friday night’s double-header at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.

However Defence Force and Trinidad and Tobago defender Jamali Garcia will play no further path in the Tetron Boys’ (9 points) attempt of a fourth First Citizens Cup after suffering a broken leg early on during his team’s 3-0 win over Club Sando FC to top the group with on a superior goal difference.

Two-time former winners Central (9 points) defeated San Juan Jabloteh (1 point) 2-1 in the opening game of the night to overtake Club Sando (7 points) for top spot in the group and mounted the pressure on last season’s defeated finalists Defence Force who sat third with 6 points before kickoff against the Oranges.

But the Marvin Gordon-coached Defence Force, despite having Garcia whisked off by ambulance on 15 minutes and in a must-win situation, produced the comfortable win through goals from versatile attacker Dylon King, Hashim Harlim Arcia from the spot, and a sublime finish from substitute Reon Moore against a Sando side that needed just a draw to progress.

The Angus Eve-coached Sando fell behind on the half-hour mark when King, with what is becoming his trademark strike, curled a shot into the far netting from the top left side of the box for his fourth goal of the competition after goalkeeper Kelvin Henry had made a brilliant stop to blank Arica from point-blank range.

Arica, however, redeemed himself from the penalty spot when he wrong-sided Henry to cushion Defence Force in the 78th minute after veteran forward Devorn Jorsling was brought down in the box by Sando hard man Trevin Latapy.

Brent Sam had moments before skied a wonderful opportunity overbar after creating space for himself in the Sando penalty area, before Jorsling troubled the glove of Henry who dropped low to spoon the ball out.

Moore, who replaced King just over the hour mark, then sealed the 3-0 result six minutes from time with an audacious finish—hitting from the end line—to beat Henry who had, perhaps in anticipation that the speedy attacker would feed a short cross, rushed off his line.

Much earlier on the night, Duane Muckette and Keron Cummings had done enough to cushion two-time former champions Central before Jomoul Overcome Francois scored a consolation item for Jabloteh, who must contest 30 remaining minutes against MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers (who lead 2-0 before torrential rain fall suspended play last Tuesday) from 6pm next Tuesday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

Muckette broke a deadlock from a free kick which beat Jabloteh ‘keeper Shemel Louison on 56 minutes after he was brought down on top the box.

Cummings then cushioned the Stern John-coached Couva Sharks six minutes later with a rasping finish from the right before Francois pulled a goal back for Jabloteh with a low drive past goalkeeper Marvin Phillipillip in the 76th minute on the other end.

But Phillip, a former Trinidad and Tobago shot-stopper, produced a brilliant stoppage-time save, putting Raymond Alleyne’s header over bar to guarantee Central a place in the semi-finals by the final whistle.

The semi-final opponents of Defence Force and Central can be determined by today’s (Saturday) Abercrombie Group double-header at Ato Boldon Stadium with Police FC taking on Point Fortin Civic from 4pm and eight-time champions W Connection against Morvant Caledonia United from 6pm.

The Abercrombie Group winners will meet the Immortelle Group runners-up and vice versa for a place in the final on July 20.

Police, Civic and Connection are all tied on 6 points, while Morvant Caledonia (3 points) can also progress, but must start with a win against the Savonetta Boys today before facing the Lawmen in their rescheduled game on Tuesday from 7pm at Hasely Crawford Stadium.

First Citizens Cup 2018 Results

Central FC 2 (Duane Muckette 56’, Keron Cummings 62’) vs San Juan Jabloteh 1 (Jomoul Francois 76’), at Hasely Crawford Stadium;

Defence Force FC 3 (Dylon King 30’, Hashim Arica 78’ pen., Reon Moore 84’), vs Club Sando 0, at Hasely Crawford Stadium.

Teams

Game 1

Central FC: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK), 5.Dwight Pope, 7.Kirston Baird (8.Akim Armstrong 62nd minute), 10.Keron Cummings, 12.Taryk Sampson, 13.Rhondel Gibson, 15.Kaydion Gabriel (27.Anthony Charles 79th minute), 22.Jameel Neptune, 19.Jared London, 24.Duane Muckette, 29.Kerry Baptiste (26.Dominic Douglas 79th minute).

Coach: Stern John

San Juan Jabloteh: 30.Shemel Louison (GK); 4.Nical Stephens (14.Tyrese Bailey 60th minute), 5.Raymond Alleyne, 10.Jomoul Francois, 12.Keron Bethelmy (13.Kristoff John 67th minute), 15.Dellon Jagessar (6.Josiah Baird 74th minute), 16.Jamal Spencer, 17.Sean Bonval, 18.Jevon Morris, 20.Kareem Baptiste, 24.Kareem Eastman.

Unused substitutes: 1.Christopher Biggette (GK); 6.Josiah Baird, 8.Xae-Pierre Defou, 22.Adrian Martyr.

Coach: Keith Jeffrey

Game 2

Defence Force FC: 25.Sheldon Clarke (GK); 3.Jamali Garcia (5.Jerome Mc Intyre 16th minute), 4.Dave Long (20.Levi Serries 74th minute), 8.Brent Sam, 9.Devorn Jorsling, 10.Hashim Arica, 17.Curtis Gonzales, 21.Aklie Edwards, 45.Dylon King (18.Reon Moore 66th minute), 99.Jerwyn Balthazar.

Unused substitutes: 1.Andre Marchan (GK); 11.Dwight Quintero, 16.Kellon Serrette, 24.Shaquille Holder.

Club Sando: 34.Kelvin Henry (GK); 5.Trevin Latapy, 6.Kemuel Rivers, 7.Akeem Humphrey (40.Isa Bramble 84th minute), 8.Kevon Piper (18.Aaron Kennedy 79th minute), 10.Keron Cornwall, 11.Russell Alfred (19.Quinn Rodney 53rd minute), 12.Michael Basdeo, 13.Shakiyl Phillip, 23.Nicholas Thomas, 27.Jayson Joseph (Capt.).

Unused substitutes: 1.Stefan Berkley (GK); 14.Kadeem Gittens, 38.Declan Marcelle, 39.Renaldo Mc Intosh.

Coach: Angus Eve

Immortelle Group

Rank Team MP W D L GF GA GD Pts.
1 Defence Force FC 4 3 0 1 15 4 11 9
2 Central FC 4 3 0 1 7 4 3 9
3 Club Sando 4 2 1 1 4 4 0 7
4 San Juan Jabloteh 3 0 1 2 1 6 -5 1
5 MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers 3 0 0 3 2 11 -9 0

Abercrombie Group

Rank Team MP W D L GF GA GD Pts. 
1 Police FC 2 2 0 0 6 1 5 6 
2 Point Fortin Civic 3 2 0 1 8 5 3 6 
3 W Connection 3 2 0 1 5 3 2 6 
4 Morvant Caledonia United 2 1 0 1 3 2 1 3 
5 North East Stars 4 0 0 4 2 13 -11 0