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Russell fired after Stars dim Central

ROSS RUSSELL was fired as coach of Central FC on Wednesday night, mere moments after the team suffered their second straight loss in the Digicel Pro League 2015-2016 season.

On Saturday, Central fell to a 1-0 defeat to San Juan Jabloteh at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo. And, on Wednesday, Central, the defending Pro League champions, suffered a similar 1-0 loss, to North East Stars, at the aforementioned venue.

It was reported on the Wired 868 website that Russell, who replaced Terry Fenwick as team coach in August, was shown the door by team’s operations director Kevin Harrison at the Stadium’s parking lot.

A team member confirmed yesterday, “we had training (yesterday) morning and (Harrison) made the announcement there.” And Harrison, in a telephone interview yesterday, confirmed that assistant coach Dale Saunders, the former Trinidad and Tobago defensive midfielder and Joe Public coach, will be in charge on an interim basis, with Zoran Vranes, who was in attendance at Wednesday’s game, fancied to make a return as the team coach.

“It’s a bit unfortunate, we have a lot of respect for Ross,” said the English- born Harrison. He added, in comical fashion, “if Jose Mourinho contacts us, we’ll be happy to interview him.” During the latter stages of Wednesday’s game, a member of Central’s famed vocal choir sang repeatedly, “Zoran Vranes, he’s from Serbia, his team will murder yuh!” as well as “Ross Russell, you’ve lost the battle.” Central FC had lots of possession in the first half but were let down by poor decision-making, particularly from ex-national midfielder Marcus Joseph.

In the 44th, North East, who were well-organised and patient in their display, got the game-clinching goal.

Midfielder Neil Mitchell skipped past a couple challenges on the left and squared the ball to the path of striker Dillon Jaggessar who, in turn, collided with Central goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams. However, the ball crashed off the legs of left-back Kevon Villarroel and trickled into the back of the net.

In the earlier match at Mucurapo, Police rallied from a goal down to annihilate St Ann’s Rangers 6-1. Jelani Peters put Rangers ahead in the fourth minute but Kareem Freitas equalised in the 25th. Christon Thomas gave Police the lead in the 27th before Makesi Lewis registered a hat-trick, with items in the 29th, 42nd and 69th. Anton Hutchinson sealed the deal in the 73rd for the lawmen.

Round One Match Day Eight will take place today and tomorrow, at three venues.

Today, at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, the lowly Club Sando will oppose Police from 6 pm while W Connection will face Jabloteh two hours later.

Tomorrow, Central FC will square off with the struggling Morvant Caledonia United at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Arima from 3.30 pm while, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, North East will meet Defence Force at 4 pm and, at 6 pm, Rangers will battle Point Fortin Civic.

Following this weekend’s contests, the League will go on a three-week-long Christmas break.