Marvin Oliver scored a pair of second-half goals and San Juan Jabloteh beat San Francisco FC of Panama 3-0 on Thursday to advance to the Group Stage of the CONCACAF Champions League.
Jabloteh will join Toluca of Mexico, Marathon of Honduras and D.C. United in Group B, opening at home against Toluca on August 20.
The victory gave Jabloteh a 3-2 aggregate victory and assured Trinidad & Tobago two clubs in the 16-team group phase. W Connection beat the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday to advance.
San Francisco beat Jalapa of Guatemala to advance past the Preliminary Round last year, but then went winless in its six group matches.
Oliver scored the winner in the 76th minute. Elton John's free kick bounced in front of San Francisco keeper William Negrete, who wasn't able to corral the rebound. Oliver put one shot that Negrete blocked, but another rebound enabled Oliver to virtually score into an open net.
San Francisco was reduced to 10 men in the 23rd minute when defender Carlos Rivera was ejected to kicking a ball into the head of Marvin Oliver.
Oliver was challenging Carlos Vilarete for the ball at midfield approaching the near touchline when both fell. The ball dribbled only meters away to Rivera, who ran at the ball and hit a left-footed clearance attempt into the side of Oliver's face.
With the man advantage, it took Jabloteh only six minutes to capitalize. Hector Sam found space down the left side and worked his way into the penalty area before striking a falling, left-footed shot that hit the far-side netting for a 1-0 lead.
Jabloeteh's manpower advantage was negated in the 57th when Devon Jamerson drew a second yellow card, this one a lunging tackle that caught the ankles of San Francisco's Victor Suares.
Jabloteh tied the game on aggregate in the 61st minute when Oliver headed Noel Williams' left-sided cross, redirecting it just inside the far post and past San Francisco keeper William Negrete.
San Francisco seemed very content to protect its two-goal advantage, really only challenging Jabloteh's goal in the first five minutes when Rolando Algandona worked his way to the right touchline, but shot into the outside netting.
Jabloteh join Connection in Champions League group stage.
By: Ian Prescott (T&T Express).
Earl Jean was a happy man after his San Juan Jabloteh side saw off Panama's San Francisco 3-0 on Thursday night at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella, to qualify for the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League. But the St Lucian coach thinks that he needs a few extra players if the local Pro League champions are to make a successful run in the tournament.
Captain Marvin Oliver added a pair of second half goals to Hector Sam's opener, as Jabloteh won the tie 3-2 on aggregate and assured Trinidad and Tobago of two clubs in the 16-team group phase, after W Connection eliminated USA club New York Red Bulls 4-3 on Wednesday. Jabloteh will now join Toluca (Mexico), Marathon (Honduras) and D.C. United (USA) in Group B. They begin with an opening home match against Toluca on August 20.
Jean, in his first year as coach, congratulated his mostly young players and said they had shown great experience to turn around the 0-2 deficit they suffered last week in Panama. But, like Joe Public, who also started the Champions League with a bang in 2008, Jean felt he needed a much bigger squad to see the campaign through successfully.
"I don't think we have the depth for that kind of football at international level," the 38- year-old St Lucian admitted. "We are doing what we can, but based on our financial problems it is very difficult. But, we will take our chances. We are looking for talent, but it is very difficult to get the players that we want in Trinidad and the Caribbean. And then, we have a policy which is very difficult with regards to foreigners. So, the Board has to evaluate what we want to do and how far we want to go in the Champions League.
"It is difficult with such a small squad because we have a lot of league and cup games, and we have a lot of Champions League football to play and it will take a toll on us."
Thirty-three year-old captain Oliver dedicated the victory to his mother who died earlier this year. He said that Jabloteh had no doubt they could beat the Panamanians at home and reach the group phase.
"Even when we came off the pitch in Panama, we had the confidence that we could beat this team," Oliver said.
"We had a training session yesterday morning and while watching the game on tape we saw where I gave this team too much credit while playing the (first-leg) game. Because when we watched the tape , we saw how many mistakes we made and they capitalised on them. And we knew if we just tighten up on the mistakes we would be good. And, it showed tonight."
On Thursday, San Francisco kept the home team at bay early on, but were reduced to 10 men in the 23rd minute when defender Carlos Rivera was ejected by Guyanese referee Stanley Lancaster for kicking the ball violently at the head of Oliver, who had already been brought down by Carlos Vilarete.
Jabloteh made the man-advantage count after only six minutes, when veteran striker Hector Sam found space down the left side and hit a left-footed shot inside the far-side netting for a 1-0 lead. However, a rash lunge at San Francisco's Victor Suares, saw Jabloteh midfielder Devon Jamerson drawing a second yellow card in the 57th and also getting sent off.
The Panamanians were still ahead 2-1, until Oliver turned the tie with his two second half goals.
Jabloteh leveled it 2-2 on aggregate in the 61st minute with Oliver's beautiful flicked header which re-directed Noel Williams' left-sided cross into the far corner.
Oliver then put Jabloteh ahead 3-2 on aggregate and 3-0 on the night in the 76th minute.
He had some help from goalkeeper William Negrete who failed to hold onto Elton John's clipped free-kick into the penalty area and an alert Oliver forced the ball into the net from close up. Substitute Jason Marcano could have given Jabloteh a fourth goal, but hit his shot straight down the middle of the penalty area into the arms of keeper Negrete. But even more glaring was the miss from San Francisco's Boris Alfaro, who could have sent the tie into penalty kicks had he scored two minutes from the end.
Ricardo Phillips had brought a good diving save out of Jabloteh keeper Cleon John with a hot shot from outside the penalty area. But, with the goal at his mercy, striker Alfaro turned the rebound into the side-netting from inside the six-metre box.
San Juan Jabloteh: - 22-Cleon John, 28-Robert Primus, 5-Anton Hutchinson, 6-Noel Williams, 12-Elton John, 4-Karlon Murray, 10-Marvin Oliver (capt), 17-Devon Jamerson (Yellow 29th, Red 57th), 30-Lester Peltier (18-Cyrano Glen 73rd), 11-Ataullah Guerra (13-Jason Marcano 66th), 19-Hector Sam (7-Elijah Manners 82nd).
Coach: E. Jean.
San Francisco FC: - 1-William Negrete, 2-Carlos Rivera (Yellow 25th, Red 25th), 3-Rolando Algandona, 10-Wess Torres, 23-Victor Suárez, 8-Alberto Manotas (Yellow 21st), 29-Joel Solanillo (24-Miguel Olivares 68th), 9-Alberto Blanco (25-Amir White 25th), 18-Ricardo Phillips, 5-Manuel Torres (Yellow 90th), 17-Carlos Vilarete (21-Boris Alfaro 46th).
Coach: R. Guevara.
Group Stage Fixtures.
20:08:09, 20:00, San Juan Jabloteh v CD Toluca (MEX)
26:08:09, 20:00, CD Marathón (HON) v San Juan Jabloteh (TRI)
15:09:09, 20:00, San Juan Jabloteh (TRI) v DC United (USA)
23:09:09, 20:00, CD Toluca (MEX) v San Juan Jabloteh (TRI)
30:09:09, 20:00, DC United (USA) v San Juan Jabloteh (TRI)
22:10:09, 20:00, San Juan Jabloteh (TRI) v CD Marathón (HON)
* - All times are in EDT.
Team GP W D L F A D PTS
1 DC United 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0 0
2 CD Marathón 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0 0
3 San Juan Jabloteh 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0 0
4 CD Toluca 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0 0