Shaqkeem Joseph netted a hat-trick as Tiger Tanks Club Sando outgunned Cunupia FC 5-3 in their First Citizens Cup Immortelle Group decider in the feature match of a double-header at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on Monday night.
With both clubs already assured of a semifinal spot, the battle was on to avoid tournament favourites and Abercrombie Group winner, Terminix La Horquetta Rangers in the semifinals.
Cunupia started brightly with Kevon "Showtime" Woodley opening the scoring in the 31st minute, but that lead only lasted until the 38th minute when Joseph got his first of the night to get Club Sando level going into the half-time interval.
Nine minutes into the second-half Tekay Hoyce put Club Sando ahead for the first time on the night from the penalty spot, while Joseph then fired in a quick double in the 60th, and 67th minutes to complete his treble and give his team a commanding 4-1 advantage.
With 15 minutes left to play, Keron Cornwall all but sealed the victory for Club at 5-1, only for Xavier Rajpaul (85th), and Woodley (87th), the latter with his second on the night to get Cunupia FC within two goals.
But in the end it proved too little to late as Club Sando held on for the final whistle to end the six-team round-robin group stage with 11 points from five matches, and will face Abercrombie Group runner-up Police FC in the semifinal, while Cunupia FC who ended second in the group will meet Rangers' in the other semifinal.
All four clubs making it to this year's semifinals have never lifted the title, much less even made the final-four before this season.
Defence Force 2 (Hashim Arcia 37th, Devorn Jorsling 41st) vs Pt Fortin Civic 0
Club Sando 5 (Shaqkeem Joseph 38th, 60th, 67th, Tekay Hoyce 54th pen, Keron Cornwall 75th) vs Cunupia FC 3 (Kevon Woodley 31st, 87th, Xavier Rajpaul 85th)
Morvant Caledonia United 1 (Sheldon Holder 69th) vs San Juan Jabloteh 0
L.H Rangers 5 (Kadeem Corbin 21st, 84th, Anslem Jackson 31st, Jamal Creighton 87th) vs Central FC 2 (Shackiel Henry 8th, Che Benny 90+3)
AC Port-of-Spain 2 (Kordell Samuel 40th, Rivaldo Coryat 82nd) vs 1976 FC Tobago Phoenix 1 (Levi Trim 4th)
Police FC 1 (Christian Thomas 39th) vs W Connection FC 0
Final Group Standings
La Horquetta Rangers*5*5*0*16*5*15
Pt Fortin Civic*5*0*0*5*2*17*0
San Juan Jabloteh*5*1*2*2*9*8*5
1976 Tobago Phoenix*5*0*2*3*3*10*2
Friday's Matches (Diego Martin Sporting Complex)
Police FC vs Tiger Tank Club Sando, 6 pm
Cunupia FC vs Terminix La Horquetta Rangers, 8 pm
Club Sando rout Cunupia FC 5-3.
By Sherdon Pierre (Newsday).
TIGER Tanks Club Sando whipped Cunupia FC 5-3 in a showdown that yielded six second half goals and an impressive hat-trick from Shaqkeem Joseph, on Monday evening, at the First Citizens Cup match held at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo. The semi-final matchups were also decided as Club Sando will now face Police FC in the semi-final on Friday while, Cunupia FC will do battle against Terminix La Horquetta Rangers on the same night.
The game started in blistering pace with both teams vying for the top spot in the Immortelle Group. However, the tempo of the match was dented when referee Nickolai Nyron red carded Cunupia’s Kadeem Graham and Club Sando’s Darnell Hospedales in the18th minute for an off the ball incident.
Nevertheless, it was the team based in Central that opened the scoring in the 32nd minute through Kevon “Showtime” Woodley’s superb right-footed strike from on top the box beating a helpless goalkeeper Alexel Julien.
Seven minutes later, Club Sando were level through the unquestionable man of the match and speedy striker Shaqkeem Joseph who skipped passed Cunupia’s Dwane James and squeezed it through goalie Keston Malchan from an acute angle. Moments later, Joseph should have given his team the lead but his shot was inches wide of the far-post.
Nine minutes after the resumption, Club Sando were awarded a penalty after a tricky run from Tigana Sparks while team-mate Tekay Hoyce stepped up and slotted it to the left of the keeper Malchan for a 2-1 lead. The go-ahead goal boosted Club Sando’s confidence as they began controlling possession and dominating the game. They were rewarded for their efforts on the hour mark when Joseph gathered the ball from 40 yards out and rounded two defenders before slipping it home for the 3-1 lead. The lanky striker completed his well-deserved hat-trick in the 67th minute when he switched gears on his defender to calmly finish for the 4-1 score-line.
Substitute Keron Cornwall’s initial shot came off the post but Anthony Charles was in a perfect position for the rebound as he gathered and chipped a pass to Cornwall, who scored an open header in the 75th minute – his team’s fifth and last goal of the evening. After that goal, Club Sando seemed to have shut down much to the disgust of their coach Angus Eve as Cunupia’s Kaleb Douglas scored in the 85th and “Showtime” bagged his double two minutes later from a freekick.
In the earlier match between Defence Force and Point Fortin Civic FC wast in essence a stalemate as both teams were out of contention to qualify for the semi-final round.
For the majority of the encounter it was Defence Force controlling the ball in the first half but had nothing to show. However, in the 37th minute Army’s Hashim Arcia slipped a ball into Devorn Jorsling and he flicked it first time to Jerwyn Balthazar who then fired in a powerful, low cross that Arcia connected with his left boot, beating goalkeeper Stephon Seepersad.
Three minutes later, veteran striker and TT Pro League leading goal-scorer, Jorsling doubled the lead after volleying home a smart and accurate cross from Darius Ollivierra on the left flank. The two-nil cushion stood until half-time. In the second period, Point Fortin improved their showing especially after former youth national player Tyrell Emmanuel came on in the 55th minute.
However, Army erased any doubt in the 66th minute when winger Jelani Felix dribbled passed his defender and served up a right-footed cross that Arcia slapped unto the crossbar and rolled in for the three-goal lead. The south team, Point Fortin squandered several opportunities in the dying minutes to get on the scoresheet but the “Teteron Boys” stood their grounds to seal the consolation victory.