Veteran defender Aklie Edwards was in the perfect spot to head home a rebound as Defence Force captured its third First Citizens Cup title with an entertaining 1-0 win over Ma Pau Stars at the Hasely Craw-ford Stadium, Mucurapo on Friday night.
Edwards decisive strike came as early as the 14th minute from inside the 18-yard-box when he headed home from close range. He was first to react to a rebound after striker Devorn Jorsling beat goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel only to see his shot crashed onto the cross-bar and back into play to provide Edwards with a golden opportunity which he made count.
Defence Force then created a number of chances which fell to the out-of-sync lanky Hashim Arcia, who on another night could have had a hat-trick to his name, but was kept off the scoresheet by an alert Samuel, while at the other end of the field, Defence Force goalkeeper Andre Marchan was also at his best to keep out any Stars’ many threats mainly through, former Scotland-based and T&T World Cup striker, Jason Scotland.
With the win, Defence Force added to its previous First Citizens Cup triumphs in 2002 and 2009 and also walked away $110,000 richer, while also sweeping all the individual awards. Meanwhile, Ma Pau Stars, had to settle for the runner-up spot for the third time and $20,000.
Defence Force, which has reached the final seven times in all, is now the second winningest club in the competition behind seven-time champions W Connection (2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2015).
The trio of San Juan Jabloteh (2000 & 2003), Morvant Caledonia United (2011 & 2012) and Central FC (2013 & 2014) have all won the First Citizens Cup twice with the now defunct Joe Public (2010), the only other winner. Stars were also beaten in the 2006 and 2014 finals, while its coach Ross Russell, was at the helm of the Defence Force team which lifted the title in 2009.
Defence Force 1 (Aklie Edwards 14th) vs Ma Pau Stars 0
Most Goals: Devorn Jorsling (Defence Force) - 7
Most Valuable Player: Devorn Jorsling (Defence Force)
Coach of the Tournament: Marvin Gordon (Defence Force)
Defence Force: 1.Andre Marchan (GK); 13.Marvin Jones (14.Darryl Trim 90+1), 3.Jamali Garcia, 26.Justin Garcia, 21.Aklie Edwards; 8.Chris Durity; 17.Curtis Gonzales, 10.Hashim Arcia (37.Cassim Kellar 85), 99.Jerwyn Balthazar (capt), 12.Jemel Sebro (6.Rodell Elcock 77); 9.Devorn Jorsling.
Unused substitutes: 25.Sheldon Clarke (GK), 5.Devin Jordan, 22.Anthony Charles, 35.Tirek George,
Coach: Marvin Gordon
Ma Pau Stars: 22.Glenroy Samuel (GK); 25.Keryn Navarro, 5.Taryk Sampson, 19.Glenton Wolfe, 2.Carlos Edwards (capt); 6.Neil Mitchell (23.Anthony Wolfe 53), 11.Elton John; 7.Kerry Daniel (4.Kerry Baptiste 70), 10.Jerrel Britto, 17.Hayden Tinto; 9.Jason Scotland.
Unused substitutes: 1.Shane Mattis (GK), 8.Adrian Noel, 12.Sayid Freitas, 14.Chike Sullivan, 20.Quincy Charles,
Coach: Ross Russell
Referee: Crystal Sobers
Defence Force complete First Citizens Cup triumph.
By Joel Bailey (Newsday).
DEFENCE FORCE completed a successful campaign in the 2016 First Citizens Cup with a narrow 1-0 win over Ma Pau Stars in Friday’s final at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.
Former Trinidad and Tobago wing-back Aklie Edwards was the goal-getter, in the 14th minute, as Defence Force (who won the title in 2002 and 2009) took home the $110,000 jackpot.
Striker Devorn Jorsling walked away with the competition’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) and the Golden Boot (leading goal-scorer) trophies, for a tally of seven goals, while Marvin Gordon was named as the Coach of the Tournament.
Friday’s game saw a pair of former national youth team goalkeepers – Andre Marchan (Defence Force) and Glenroy Samuel (Ma Pau Stars) hold centre-stage with outstanding performances.
However, it was the Stars’ defence who failed to deal with a short corner, involving Curtis Gonzales and captain Jerwyn Balthazar, that proved costly.
From the set-piece, midfielder Christopher Durity saw his shot crash off the crossbar and an alert Edwards was quickest to the rebound as he bundled home his effort from inside the six-yard box.
Stars striker Jerrel Britto could have done better when he was set up by his captain, the evergreen Carlos Edwards, but his right footer was blocked by the Defence Force goalie.
On the opposite end, winger Jemel Sebro did well to chase a long ball from Durity and his header was magnificently cleared off his line by a retreating Samuel.
Both teams went toe-to-toe at each other in the second half.
Britto narrowly missed with a right-footed shot in the 53rd while Gonzales, on an overlapping run, picked out Hashim Arcia whose sliced volley was magnificently saved by Samuel.
Referee Crystal Sobers allowed play to continue though Arcia’s shirt was being held by Glenton Wolfe in the 60th minute. However, Arcia met a return ball from Jorsling, shook off Wolfe but saw his effort blocked by Samuel.
Four minutes later, Arcia got a ball from Gonzales but banged his shot off the crossbar while ex- TT and Defence Force forward Jason Scotland had two efforts (in the 65th and 76th) expertly saved by Marchan.
Balthazar had an opportunity to put the game beyond Stars’ reach in the 79th, after a give and- go with Jorsling, but his left-footed effort went sky-high.