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Second-half surge lifts Santos past W Connection.
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TORREON, Mexico – Santos improved to 5-0-0 in Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League (SCCL) openers with a 4-0 victory over visiting DirecTV W Connection on Tuesday at the Estadio Corona.

Djaniny Tavares scored two goals to lead the way, while Jesus Alonso Escoboza and Luis Mendoza added one each. The youthful visitor’s SCCL winless streak in the competition was extended to nine consecutive games as it failed to find the back of the net for the fourth straight time.

After Jamal Charles missed an opportunity to put W Connection ahead in the first half by blazing just over the crossbar off his own neat work in the left side of the box, the host slowly grabbed hold of the encounter. In the 41st minute, it took a 1-0 lead. 

Jose Javier Abella got loose in the right side of the box and slammed the ball across the front of the net, where Tavares tapped home easily.

Tavares then had multiple chances to increase his goal haul, forcing goalkeeper Julani Archibald into a diving save and then shooting high from the right side. 

The Guerreros doubled their advantage in the 61st minute through Escoboza. A right-sided cross into the box was headed skyward by Christian Viveros. Santos’ Cesar Ibanez got to it first, heading to the left for Escoboza, who eluded Shannon Gomez, before pounding the ball past Archibald from nine-yards out.

Seven minutes later, Tavares finally completed his brace. He intercepted a backpass and outmuscled Viveros to shoot off the left post. The hustling Colombian forward nudged the ball across the line to make it 3-0.

Mendoza completed the scoreline in the 90th minute, slotting in a rebound off an attempt that crashed off the right post.

Group A returns to action on August 20 with Saprissa hosting W Connection in Costa Rica.

NOTES: The win was Santos’ 26th in SCCL play, giving it sole possession of second-place on the all-time list, six behind Cruz Azul and one ahead of Monterrey.

Teams

Santos Laguna: - 1.Agustín Marchesín; 2.José Abella, 14.Nestor Araujo Razo, 24.Carlos Izquierdoz, 5.César Ibáñez Jiménez, 11.Néstor Calderón Enríquez (10.Bryan Rabello 78th), 4.Jesús Molina, 88.Ulises Rivas Gilio, 17.Jesús Escoboza Lugo (9.Luis Mendoza Escamilla 71st), 15.Edson Rivera Vargas (7.Andrés Rentería 59th), 21.Jorge Djaniny.

Coach: - Pedro Caixinha.

W Connection: - 18.Julani Archibald; 21.Shannon Gomez, 2.Kurt Frederick, 25.Christian Viveros, 5.Tristan Hodge (35.Keston Julien 30th), 10.Jomal Williams, 12.Apai Dimtrie 23.Kevon Goddard, 34.Jabari Mitchell (17.Aikim Andrews 46th), 16.Alvin Jones (46.Anfernee Frederick 78th), 20.Jamal Charles.

Coach: - Stuart Charles-Fevrier.

Referee: - Mario Escobar (GUA).

Video: - Santos Laguna vs W Connection Highlights

W Connection Press Release.

Post match comments provided by Technical Director and Head Coach of DIRECTV W Connection FC following the team’s 4-0 defeat against Club Santos Laguna of Mexico. Comments have also been provided by goalkeeper Julani Archibald and Keston Julien who, at 16 years old made his Champions League debut.

STUART CHARLES FEVRIER

“Tonight’s game against Santos was a loss that I can take some positives from, and also some parts were disappointing for me as Coach of the team. I thought that we could have done much better, we conceded two soft goals in the second half – the second and third goal, mistakes we shouldn’t have made and I think that’s where the game really slipped away from us. In the first half, although Santos had more possession, I thought tactically we dealt with their rotation good and we came back into the second half feeling that we had a chance to at least equalize but that wasn’t to be because of the two goals in the second half and that’s where the game went away from us.

In terms of the positives, most of the players were young players, the average age of the team is 21 years old. We had players as young as sixteen years old playing today which augers well for the future for us, but even with this group of young players, I still felt we could have done better, but I believe that the performance will go a long way in helping us to believe more in ourselves. We now have to put this game behind us and look forward to our next game in Costa Rica on the 20th against versus Saprissa. We intend to make a very professional preparation for that game and we intend definitely to try and improve on our results.”

JULANI ARCHIBALD

"It was a very tough game playing against the 2014/2015 Mexican Champions and a learning experience for us. We have new players and a young squad this season...we have three more games and a training camp where we can continue to prepare and get it right for August 20th against the Costa Rican Champions. It won't be an easy task but we have to move on from this game and keep going as a team."

KESTON JULIEN

On making his Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League debut: "It was a good experience for me and I hope to learn from it, and come out in our next game in Costa Rica and perform better...their team played quick and compact and weren't really losing the ball..."

Santos Laguna spank Connection 4-0 in Champions League opener.
By Lasana Liburd (wired868).


DIRECTV W Connection had a predictably rough opening CONCACAF Champions League encounter last night as the Trinidad and Tobago Pro League club was trounced 4-0 by defending Mexico champions, Santos Laguna, at the Corona Stadium in Torreon.

Santos had to wait until the 41st minute for their first goal, which 24-year-old Cape Verde striker Djaniny squeezed home after a cross from Jose Abella. But the hosts added three second half items at a stroll as a makeshift Connection team, which had three goalkeepers in their 18-man squad, failed to offer much resistance.

Connection used five teenagers against Mexico’s top club including two schoolboys, 18-year-old Naparima College playmaker Jabari Mitchell and 16-year-old Presentation College (San Fernando) left back Keston Julien.

And, just as tellingly, four players made senior competitive debuts for the “Savonetta Boys” at a punishing level. While, in the absence of the suspended Gerrard Williams and Maurice Ford, coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier used utility player Christian Viveros and left back Kurt Frederick in central defence.

It did not add up to a particularly cohesive display from Connection as they completed 82 passes over the 90 minutes and were outshot by 29 attempts on goal to five.

Jesus Escoboza doubled Laguna’s lead in the 61st minute as he shrugged off a weak Shannon Gomez challenge before blasting past Connection custodian Julani Archibald.

The St Kitts and Nevis international goalkeeper might have been even more annoyed with his defenders in the 68th minute as a weak back pass from Frederick, a St Lucia international, was punished by Djaniny.

Djaniny’s initial shot came off the post but he made no mistake with the rebound.

Archibald had a moment to savour in the 85th minute as he produced a superb save to push a Bryan Rabello free kick off his upright.

But Laguna had the last laugh in stoppage time as Djaniny eased away from Gomez and spanked another effort off the post where substitute Luis Mendoza reacted smartly for a simple tap in.

Laguna had 69 percent of the ball possession by the final whistle while the result means that Connection have not scored in the Champions League for four successive matches. Neil Benjamin Jr got Connection’s last goal during a 3-1 loss to Panamanian club Arabe Unido in 2013.

Benjamin was an unused substitute against Laguna but is expected to shake off a hamstring injury in time for Connection’s next group assignment away to Costa Rica club champions, Saprissa, on August 20.

opefully, captain Alvin Jones and left back Triston Hodge, who both represented the Trinidad and Tobago National Under-23 Team at the 2015 Pan American Games, will also be fit to face Saprissa, after they were replaced due to injuries last night.

Fellow Pro League club, Central FC, start their own Champions League adventure tomorrow night away to United States Major League Soccer (MLS) club, LA Galaxy.

(Teams)

W Connection: 18.Julani Archibald (GK); 21.Shannon Gomez, 25.Christian Viveros, 2.Kurt Frederick, 5.Triston Hodge (35.Keston Julien 30); 16.Alvin Jones (captain) (46.Anfernee Frederick 78), 23.Kevon Goddard, 34.Jabari Mitchell (17.Aikim Andrews 46); 10.Jomal Williams, 20.Jamal Charles, 12.Dimitrie Apai.

Unused substitutes: 1.Terrence Lewis (GK), 22.Aquelius Sylvester (GK), 13.Kion Joseph, 11.Neil Benjamin Jr.

Coach: Stuart Charles-Fevrier

Santos Laguna: 1.Agustin Marchesin (GK); 2.Jose Abella, 14.Nestor Araujo, 24.Carlos Izquierdoz, 5.Cesar Ibanez, 11.Nestor Calderon (10.Bryan Rabello 78), 4.Jesus Molina, 88.Ulises Rivas, 17.Jesus Escoboza (9.Luis Mendoza 71), 18.Edson Rivera (7.Andres Renteria 59), 21.Djaniny.

Unused substitutes: 32.Julio Gonzales (GK), 3.Kristian Alvarez, 6.Sergio Ceballos, 23.Carlos Orrantia.

Coach: Pedro Caixinha

RELATED NEWS

Connection start C/League with six teenagers; Mekeil Williams joins exodus.
By Lasana Liburd (wired868).


DIRECTV W Connection travelled to Mexico yesterday with six teenagers and 14 players under the age of 23 as the “Savonetta Boys” start their 2015/16 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League campaign with a fresh-faced squad.

Connection face reigning and five time Liga MX Champions, Santos Laguna, tomorrow from 10 pm at the 30,000-seater Corona Stadium in Torreon.

Only five Connection players, Colombia utility player Felipe Ocoro Viveros, St Kitts and Nevis ball-winner Gerard Williams, St Lucia wing back Kurt Frederick and the Trinidad and Tobago duo of playmaker Jomal Williams and journeyman goalkeeper Aquelius Sylvester, have more than two full Pro League seasons under their belt.

Versatile 21-year-old defender Alvin Jones, who captained the Trinidad and Tobago National Under-23 Team at the 2015 Pan American Games, is another survivor from the Connection squad which lifted the 2013/14 Pro League title.

Otherwise, coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier will put his faith in youth to compensate for another exodus of senior players.

Last season’s top scorer, Jerrel Britto, moved to Guatemalan top flight club, Deportivo Malacateco, on a free transfer while captain and “Soca Warriors” defender Mekeil Williams joined Antigua GFC on loan.

Playmaker Hashim Arcia is already in training with the Defence Force in lieu of a move there while Trinidad and Tobago international defender Daneil Cyrus and forward Shahdon Winchester are awaiting moves abroad.

Colombia midfielder Stiven Reyes failed to agree terms on a new deal while St Lucia players Tremain Paul and Devaughn Elliot are out of contract.

In their places, ex-Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 Team players Shannon Gomez, Aikim Andrews and Maurice Ford will be expected to play key roles alongside Pan Am Games teammates left back Triston Hodge and attacker Neil Benjamin Jr.

Benjamin, whose senior career has been plagued with injuries, is recovering from a hamstring injury at present.

“Every player we put on our roster, we believe in their ability,” W Connection chairman David John Williams told Wired868. “I like to go back to the 2011/12 season when nobody gave us a chance. Jomal (Williams), Joevin (Jones), Shahdon (Winchester) and Britto were teenagers then and we won the league.”

Twenty-one year old Surinamese attacker Dimitrie Apai, who sparkled on his Pro League debut season two years ago, should be another important player to Connection’s chances of success this season, although he is returning from a long-term injury.

Another teenaged winger, ex-National Under-20 player Akeem “Froggy” Garcia, is still recovering from a knee injury but also showed promise at senior level last season.

The 2014 Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier League MVP and ex-National Under-20 Team playmaker, Jabari Mitchell, has also committed himself to Connection this season and is with the squad in Mexico.

Williams is not sure if the 18-year-old Mitchell will skip Upper Six at Naparima College but he does not expect the talented schoolboy to return to the SSFL.

Gomez left Form Six at St Augustine Secondary to turn pro last season.

“He is not going back to (the SSFL),” said Williams. “I’m 100 percent sure. He is playing full time with Connection.”

The baby of the squad is 16-year-old Presentation College (San Fernando) left back Keston Julien, who represented the Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 Team earlier this year.

Connection also signed former Central FC and North East Stars midfielders Kevon Goddard and Kion Joseph respectively, who are both ex-Trinidad and Tobago national youth team players.

There was a considerable shrinkage in the number of Caribbean islanders at Connection with just five players from outside Trinidad and Tobago.

Nineteen year old Grenada striker Jamal Charles and 21-year-old Dominica holding midfielder Anfernee Frederick join the first team roster alongside 24-year-old St Kitts and Nevis goalkeeper Julani Archibald, Frederick and Williams (G).

Williams revealed that Benjamin, who is still recovering from injury, will not start against Santos tomorrow as the young Connection outfit faces the might of Mexico’s champion club.

Central FC will also start their Champions League campaign from 10 pm on Thursday when the “Couva Sharks”, led by new coach Ross Russell, tackle United States’ MLS club, LA Galaxy.

The Sharks are still in Trinidad while they have not released their squad details yet.

(W Connection team)

Goalkeepers: Julani Archibald, Terrence Lewis, Aquelius Sylvester;

Defenders: Shannon Gomez, Alvin Jones, Maurice Ford, Felipe Ocoro Viveros, Triston Hodge, Keston Julien, Kurt Frederick;

Midfielders: Anfernee Frederick, Gerard Williams, Kion Joseph, Kevon Goddard, Jabari Mitchell, Jomal Williams;

Forwards: Jamal Charles, Aikim Andrews, Neil Benjamin Jr, Dimitrie Apai.

Staff: Stuart Charles Fevrier, Earl Jean, Eligah Joseph, Chandeo Boodoosingh and John Jerry.