T&T Pro League clubs Central FC and W Connection, both chasing berths at the 2015-2016 CONCACAF Champions League, will renew their rivalry on May 22 in the semi-final round of the 2015 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship after topping Groups 1 and 2 respectively.
Central, one of this season's Club Championship debuting teams with a huge appetite for CCL competition, defeated Alpha United 3-1 at Providence Stadium in Guyana today (Sunday) to leapfrog the home side to top Group 1 of the Club Championship to qualify for the semi-final round, where the “Couva Sharks” later learned that they will meet bitter Trinidadian rivals W Connection.
Trinidad and Tobago international Ataullah Guerra scored twice and set up another, scored by midfield partner Sean de Silva, against the Guyana league champions, who got their lone item from 29-year-old former Caledonia AIA forward Konata Mannings.
Guerra fired Central ahead in the 15th minute before setting up De Silva two minutes later to give the “Couva Sharks” an early 2-0 cushion.
Mannings then reduced the deficit 1-2 three minutes before the break with a curling 25-yard free-kick past goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams but an 85th minute converted penalty by Guerra, beating Alpha goalkeeper Ronson Williams, following a foul on Darren Mitchell, put the match out of the Guyana team’s reach 3-1.
The win also kept Central FC head coach Terry Fenwick perfect after three matches in all competitions since being reinstalled last month for the position he took over from Serbian Zoran Vranes, who was shifted into the role of technical director of youth and women's football.
While Connection – seasoned Club Championship and CONCACAF Champions League campaigners – preserved their position at the top of Group 2 in Trinidad by defeating Antigua and Barbuda outfit SAP FC 7-2, just shy of duplicating a 7-1 score-line they achieved against Guyana Defence Force last Wednesday.
Due to unlawful player registrations, SAP FC’s Antigua and Barbuda internationals and star attackers Peter Byers, 30, and Blake Thompson, 29, were forced to spectate from the stands, just as they did during their team’s opening match against Guyana Defence Force which finished 2-2 draw,.
But SAP’s greater problems weren’t in offence. SAP defenders were clearly unable to withstand the prowess of Connection's attacking diamond which headed into the dressing room with a 6-0 lead at the break, with all four attacking players scoring within the first 26 minutes.
Hashim Arcia scored three times in the first half against the Antiguans to reach his second hat-trick, with a tally of six goals during the Group stage in just two matches.
The 26-year-old Arcia, scored his first on the 20th minute by hitting low past goalkeeper Molvin James after running into the box, by which time Connection were leading 3-0.
Jomal Williams had opened the scoring in the 5th minute and in the 9th minute double goalscorer Jerrel Britto got to his first, seconds after an Alvin Jones free-kick cannoned off the frame.
Connection forward Shahdon Winchester executed probably the goal of the tournament when he joined in the fun with an acrobatic volley off a well-worked Triston Hodge left side cross to beat a hapless James for a 4-0 lead in the 26th minute.
Arcia continued his rich scoring form of the tournament by netting two more goals in a space of three minutes to give the Stuart Charles Fevrier-coached Connection an unassailable 6-0 lead.
The lanky Connection forward had a simple task of tapping into an open net off Britto’s short feed while goalkeeper James was left stranded at the corner of his six-yard box, then completed his hat-trick with a low finish past the SAP ‘keeper in the 45th minute off another excellent Hodge left side cross.
SAP later pulled back two goals in a space of 20 minutes in the second half through strikes from Tevaughn Harriette and substitute Steven Rogers in the 58th and 78th minutes respectively and had a number of exciting saves from goalkeeper James but were still far from a comeback.
Connection, who were unlucky not to add another goal in the 68 minute when Williams (J) 20-yard free-kick crashed off the crossbar, finally had the ball in the back of the net again in the 82nd minute for the 7-2 score when Britto completed his double with an easy tap in following some neat passing between Williams (J) and substitute Neil Benjamin Jr.
Central FC and W Connection, first and second on the Digicel Pro League 2014-2015 standings respectively, will return to domestic action this week when they refocus on the league crown, while the semi-final stage of the Caribbean Club Championship, which includes the winners of Group 3 and 4, remains a month away.
Groups 3 and 4 were simultaneously contested in Haiti. (See full schedule, results and standings below)
The four group winners will advance to the next stage, which includes the semi-final and final rounds, to be contested during May 22-24 (at venues to be decided) and will determine the Caribbean champions and the three Caribbean berths at the 2015-2016 CONCACAF Champions League.
Sunday’s results involving both Trinidadian clubs
Providence Stadium, Guyana
Alpha United 1 (Konata Mannings 43') vs Central FC 2 (Ataullah Guerra 15', 85' Sean de Silva)
Ato Boldon Stadium, Trinidad
W Connection 7 (Jomal Williams 5', Jerrel Britto 9', 45-37 Hashim Arcia 20', 43', 45', Shahdon Winchester 26') vs SAP FC 2 (Tevaughn Harriette 58', Steven Roberts 78')
Teams at the Ato Boldon Stadium
W Connection: 3.Gerard Williams, 5.Mekeil Williams, 9.Shahdon Winchester (65.Neil Benjamin Jr. 45+17), 12.Jerrel Britto, 14.Hashim Arcia (8.Jhon Stiven Lopez 76th minute), 18.Julani Archibald (GK), 26.Maurice Ford (20.Christian Rodriguez 50th minute), 27.Shannon Gomez, 36.Triston Hodge, 39.Alvin Jones, 40.Jomal Williams
Unused substitutes: 8.Jhon Stiven Lopez, 2.Kurt Frederick, 20.Christian Rodriguez, 22.Aquelius Sylvester (GK), 25.Christian Viveros, 29.Akeem Garcia
Coach: Stuart Charles Fevrier
SAP FC: 2.Akeem Thomas (Yellow Card), 3.Okeem Challenger, 4.Karanja Mack (Yellow Card), 5.Lauson Limerick (7.Ikah Codrington 46th minute), 6.Elvis Thomas, 9.O'dell Murray, 12.Teran Williams (15.Kemoi Williams 66th minute) (Yellow Card), 14.Tevaughn Harriette (Yellow Card), 17.Kerry Parker, 18.Novelle Francis Jr. (13.Steven Roberts 65th minute), 25.Molvin James (GK)
Unused substitutes: 10.Jermaine Browne, 53.Andre Martin (GK)
Coach: Janiel Simon
Teams at Providence Stadium
Alpha United: 1.Ronson Williams (GK), 3.Jamaal Smith, 4.Kris Camacho, 6.Manuel Moreno Vargas, 10.Daniel Wilson, 11.Gregory Richardson, 13.Calvin Shepherd (21.Sheldon Holder 39th minute), 17.Konata Mannings, 19.Kurk Duckworth, 24.Wayne Ellis, 28.Kithson Bain
Substitutes: 2.Adrian Adonis, 5.Quincy Madramootoo, 7.Manasseh Primo, 18.Shavane Seaforth, 20.Issa Mc Pherson, 22.Dorville Stewart (GK)
Coach: Wayne Dover
Central FC: 2.Elton John, 3.Keion Goodrige, 5.Akeem Benjamin, 7.Jason Marcano, 8.Sean de Silva, 10.Marvin Oliver, 12.Jamal Jack, 15.Kaydion Gabriel, 21.Jan-Michael Williams (GK), 45.Ataullah Guerra, 99.Dwight Quintero
Substitutes: 1.Javon Sample (GK), 6.Leston Paul, 11.Darren Mitchell, 17.Marcelle Francois, 19.Nathaniel Garcia, 33.Willis Plaza
Coach: Terry Fenwick
W Connection sets up Central FC semis clash.
By Nigel Simon (Guardian).
Hashim Arcia scored a second hat-trick in as many matches as reigning Digicel T&T Pro League champions DirecTV W Connection blasted Antigua and Barbuda champions SAP FC 7-2 in their final Caribbean Football Union Club Championship Group Two match on Sunday at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, to set up a semifinal meeting with Couva-neighbours Central FC.
Earlier in the day at the Guyana National Stadium, Porvidence, tournament debutants and current Pro League leaders, Central FC got a double-from national midfielder Ataualla Guerra to whip host club, Alpha United 3-1 in their must-win clash to top Group One. Guerra opened the scoring in the 15th minute and then turned provider for Sean De Silva to double the lead two minutes later.
Alpha United, got the better of T&T Defence Force on penalty kicks last year in the third place playoff to reach the prestigious Concacaf Champions League, only needed a draw against Central FC to advance as group winners on goal-difference.
And two minutes before the break, former Caledonia AIA midfielder Konata Williams pulled a goal back for the host with a 25-yard free-kick past goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams but five minutes from the final whistle Guerra stepped up and converted a penalty past goalkeeper Ronson Williams, after team-mate Darren Mitchell was brought down in the 18-yard area. Speaking after the win, Guerra stated that sealing the three points was the most important thing.
He added, “we stuck to our game plan. we played very well. We played good football on the ground. We had our moments where we should have put away more of our easier chances. However we played excellent football in the first half and in the second. We dug deep and gave it our all.”
With the win, Central FC under the supervision of former England international Terry Fenwick topped the three-team table with maximum six points, after kicking off its campaign at the same venue on Friday with a 2-0 shut-out of Suriname’s Inter Moengotapoe with Willis Plaza scoring a double.
Up at Couva, three-time CFU Club winners (2002, 2006 and 2009) and four-time runners-up as well, W Connection had little trouble in brushing aside SAP FC after overcoming some early pressure. The “Savonetta Boys”, who clobbered Guyana Defence Force 7-1 on Wednesday inspired by Arcia’s hat-trick went into the match only needing a draw while SAP FC which drew with Guyana Defence Force needed a big win.
Prior to kick off SAP FC did not do itself any favours as main strikers, former T&T based Peter Byers and Blake Thompson were barred from participating due to unlawful player registrations, just as they did during their team’s opening match. And on the field, the visitors had another problem to cope with, in a rampant youthful W Connection outfit.
However, it was SAP FC which had the first two openings, the best of which fell to Tevuaghn Harriette, who managed to get behind the W Connection backline, but dragged a shot across Julani Archibald’s goal in the fifth minute off the legs of W Connection captain Mekeil Williams.
From the inswing cornering, W Connection mounted a fast-break down the right side which ended with Jomal Williams (no relation) slipping a right footed shot past goalkeeper Molvin James.
National defender Alvin Jones, the brother of Chicago Fire’s Alvin Jones then saw a right footed blast crash against the crossbar off of James’ fingertips, before striker Jerrel Britto ran onto a lob pass into the area from Shahdon Winchester to tap over the advancing Jaes for a 2-0 cushion.
The lanky Arcia then got his first of the afternoon when he too made full use of space in the SAP FC defence, by running onto a through pass from Williams (M) and after wrong footing a retreating defender, he hammered home in the 20th. Six minutes later, former Finland-based striker, WInchester then made it 4-0 with a mid-air right footed scissors volley, the goal of the tournament, off a left sided centre from Triston Hodge.
Arcia then killed off the match as a contest with two more items before the half, in the 43rd and 45th minutes for W Connection to take a commanding 6-0 cushion into the break, and the trickling of spectators anticipating what was in store for the second 45 minutes.
But just as they did in the 7-1 defeat of Guyana Defence Force, the Stuart Charles-Fevrier coached “Savonetta Boys” dropped their intensity level on the resumption, against a SAP FC squad, which with nothing more than pride to play resorted to some robust challenge, one in particular from Tevaughn Harriette, a stamp on defender Maurice Ford who had to be substituted.
Harriette, who was lucky only to received a yellow-card from referee Rhomie Blanc of Dominica then pulled a goal back for SAP FC, beating Archibald, with a net left footed finish into the top right-hand corner. With the result beyond doubt, W Connection still had a few forays into SAP FC’s penalty area with Jomal Williams blasting a free-kick off the crossbar in the 68th.
Substitute Steven Roberts got a second for the visitors four minutes, as he followed up on a rebound after Archibald parried a free-kick from Okeem Challenger into his path. With the match all but over as a contest, Britto then finish off a slick move down the right side, with a close up finish, for his second of the night, to complete the 7-2 drubbing, and with it maximum six points from its two matches.
Final CFU Club Standings (Group Two)
Teams P W D L F A Pts
W Connection 2 2 0 0 14 3 6
SAP FC 2 0 1 1 4 9 1
Guyana D/F 2 0 1 1 3 9 1