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Connection sends Caledonia stumbling out of Digicel Pro Bowl; Stars soar into semis.Caledonia AIA’s aspiration to meet Defence Force in the semi-final round of the Digicel Pro Bowl was flattened on Friday night when the Morvant-Laventille club fell to a 3-1 defeat against DIRECTV W Connection at the Ato Boldon Stadium.

And up at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, in the second Pro Bowl quarterfinal fixture at that venue, North East Stars whipped St. Ann’s Rangers 3-0.

Kennedy Hinkson opened the scoring in the 27th minute, Marcus Gomez doubled the advantage by the 45th minute and Kareem Moses sealed the comfortable win by the 47th minute to send the Stars into the semis on Friday 24 May at the Marvin Lee Stadium.

The Stars moves on to meet Central FC, 1-0 winners over Police FC in the first match at the Couva venue, while Connection are against the newly crowned Digicel Pro League Champions Defence Force.

Defence Force slammed a 5-0 win over T&TEC in their clash at the Port of Spain venue.

Caledonia will now shift its focus on a two-match play-off against Jamaican club Portmore United next week for qualification into the CONCACAF Champions’ League, while T&TEC, Police and Rangers all saw an end to their 2012-2013 season on Friday night.

Caledonia suffered a poor start when Connection’s Andrei Pacheco blasted a penalty strike past goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel for an early 1-0 advantage by the 9th minute, after Samuel upended Hashim Arcia inside the area less than a minute earlier. Samuel received a yellow card from referee Gyasi Mc Donald in the process.

The Morvant-Laventille club tried plucking itself back before the break with Akim Armstrong missing the target in the 25th minute following a neat buildup, and a minute later, wingback Aubrey David headed just wide of the Connection goal.

However four minutes after the break, it was Connection that doubled its advantage for a 2-0 result.

A stinger of a free-kick by Pacheco from the right of the field was charged down by Samuel, but he was beaten on the rebound picked up by Neil Benjamin despite getting glove to the ball.

The entertainment climaxed moments later when Caledonia reduced the deficit 1-2 by the 52nd minute.

An excellent free-kick by Densill Theobald from distance crashed off the upright, and Aubrey David was alert and pounced early to hit past goalkeeper Alejandro Figueroa.

But Connection, who defeated Caledonia back to back in previous meetings, had another one in the net.

After goal-scorer Pacheco guided a Hashim Arcia cross wide of the goal in the 54th minute, and Surinamese forward Stefano Rijssel watched his decent strike in the 62nd minute foiled by Samuel, Connection’s persistence paid off again.

Pacheco was involved again when he slipped a pass to the right of the area for Arcia, and the lanky Connection attacker completed his team’s third item for a 3-1 win, with the ball hitting inside the far upright before nestling into the back of the net.

And in the second minute of five minutes added-on time, Pacheco missed out on his double when he hammered overbar from the edge of the six yard area.

One Connection player left the pitch in disappointing fashion though. Referee Mc Donald issued defender Christian Viveros a direct red card in injury time for striking the face of Caledonia’s Nathan Lewis.

Full Digicel Pro Bowl quarterfinal round results

Defence Force 5—0 T&TEC FC
Rodell Elcock 63’, Kevon Carter 68’, 70’, 83’, Ross Russell Jr. 78’

Central FC 1—0 Police
Peter Byers 61’
 
North East Stars 3—0 St. Ann’s Rangers
Kennedy Hinkson 27’ Marcus Gomez 45’, Kareem Moses 47’

W Connection 3—1 Caledonia AIA
Andrei Pacheco 9’(pen), Neil Benjamin 49’, Hashim Arcia 79’  ;  Aubrey David 52’

Teams

W Connection—Alejandro Figueroa, Clyde Leon (capt.) (Silvio Spann 55th), Daneil Cyrus, Gerrard Williams, Hashim Arcia (Jomal Williams 82nd), Andrei Pacheco, Leslie Joel Russell (Eligah Joseph 76th), Christian Viveros (Red Card), Stefano Rijssel, Kurt Frederick, Neil Benjamin.

Unused substitutes—Aquelius Sylvester, Jerrel Britto, Alvin Jones, Tremain Shayn Paul.

Coach—Stuart Charles Fevrier.

Caledonia AIA—Glenroy Samuel (Yellow Card), Stephan David (capt.), Aubrey David, Colin Nelson, Keyon Edwards (Miguel Alejandro Romeo 73rd), Akim Armstrong (Abdallah Phillips 82nd), Nical Stephens (Yellow Card), Akeem Thomas, Densill Theobald, Vurlon Mills (Jamal Gay 60th), Nathan Lewis.

Unused substitutes—Shemel louision, Nuru Abdullah Muhammad, Aaron Lester, Odelle Armstrong.

Technical Director—Jamaal Shabazz / Coach—Jerry Moe.

Carter fires Army into Pro Bowl semis.
By Nigel Simon (Guardian).


Kevon Carter scored a hat-trick as he and his Defence Force team-mates made up for a disappointing first-half to hammer T&TEC 5-0 in their Digicel Pro Bowl quarterfinal at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on Friday.

Joining the defending champions Defence Force in Friday’s semifinal were North East Stars, two-time winner DirecTV W Connection and league debutants, Central FC.
 
Prior to his team’s kick off of its title defence, coach Ross Russell said his Defence Force squad, recently crowned league champions for a second time in three years would be coming out to put on a show. However, during the first 45 minutes, Russell was left a frustrated man and Carter, Richard “Shaka” Roy and Jerwyn “Bally” Balthazar all wasted numerous chances against a T&TEC side that provided little punch up front.
 
The Army/Coast-Guard combination finally broke the deadlock from an unlikely source in the 63rd minute when defender Rodell Elcock headed into an open goal after goalkeeper Akini Adams failed to collect a right sided Corey Rivers corner.

Five minutes later Carter made amends for his earlier misses when he tapped home at the far post froma left sided Aklie Edwards centre and in the 70th minute he extended the advantage to 3-0 by starting and finishing off a next exchange of passes at the top of the T&TEC penalty-area by firing through the legs of Adams.
 
Any hopes of a T&TEC comeback was dashed in the 78th minute when Ross Russell Jr, a former national youth player and son of the coach Ross Russell unleashed a powerful left footer than found the bottom right hand corner of Adams’ goal, after an intended pass to substitute Devorn Jorsling from Carter fell in his path.

With seven minutes left in the contest, Carter completed his hat-trick with another close range tap-in, this time froma right sided centre by Kerry “Crampy” Joseph. At the other end of the field, T&TEC’s youthful duo of Shackiel Henry and Nathaniel Garcia along with the experienced Simeon Augustus were starved of any real efforts on goal.
 
In fact, T&TEC’s only real shot on goal came in the 83rd minute through Antuan John from a pass by substitute Anthony Noriega, but it was patted down by goalkeeper Kevin “”Barthez” Graham to preserve a clean sheet as his team stormed into the semifinal where it faces W Connection on Friday at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya.

The second match at Mucurapo was a much more even affair, with both Rangers and Stars enjoyed some ball possession. But as the match progressed Stars began to dominate and took a 1-0 lead in the 27th when the nippy Kennedy Hinkson collected a pass at the top right hand corner of the box, wrong footed his marker and curled a right footed shot past the outstretched hands of goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams.
 
Stars took a 2-0 lead on the stroke of half-time, through midfielder Marcus Gomez, beating Williams low on his near post while Kareem Moses added the third, two minutes into the second-half to set up a semis clash with Central FC.

Down at Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, ay 24 May at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya, W Connection in search of its third Pro Bowl title after being victorious in 2004 and 2007 got off to a perfect start when Andrei Pacheco blasted in a ninth penalty strike past goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel for an early 1-0 advantage. This after Samuel upended Hashim Arcia inside the area and was whistled by referee Gyasi Mc Donald for the infringement, and cautioned as well in the process.
 
Caledonia had two chances to get even, through striker Akim Armstrong in the 25th minute, and a minute later, defender Aubrey David, but both players missed the target.  The Morvant/Laventille club was made to rue those chances as four minutes after the restart W Connection doubled its lead to 2-0 when goalkeeper, Samuel charged down a left footed free-kick from Pacheco, which fell to Neil Benjamin Jr, for an easy finish.

Eight minutes later, Caledonia, beaten 5-2 in last year’s final by Defence Force got back into the contest when defender Aubrey David was first to react to a free-kick from Densill Theobald which crashed off the upright, and pounced on the loose ball tom fire past goalkeeper Alejandro Figueroa.

However, that was as close as Caledonia would get as Hashim Arcia collected a pass from Pacheco before firing past Samuel and into the far corner off the upright for a 3-1 scoreline in the 79th.
 
Pacheco who had one of his better outings on the night almost added a fourth in the second minute added-on time, but he blasted over the bar from the edge of the six yard box while his team-mate, Colombian Christian Viveros took the gloss off his team’s comfortable win by picking up a straight red card for an off the ball altercation with Caledonia’s Nathan Lewis.

The winners of Friday’s semifinal will clash on Wednesday May 29 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo for the winner-take-all $100,000 prize which will be increased by a percentage of the gate receipts, as well as a new trophy up for grabs.
 
There are also individual awards for the “Top Scorer”, “Most Valuable Player” and “Most Outstanding Coach” of $2,000, $2,000 and $3,000 respectively.