NAPARIMA College claimed their second title of the season yesterday, edging Presentation College 4-3 on penalties in a gripping Coca Cola South Zone Intercol final at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella. The most anticipated derby of the season ended 0-0 after regulation time and proved to be a thrilling contest as it took eight kicks from the penalty spot to separate the teams.
In the early stage of the game, both teams struggled to dominate possession as the tension was high on the field and around the stadium. Presentation almost took the lead in the 10th minute when Omri Baird danced around two defenders before he delivered a wonderful ball onto the head of Jayie Sheppard at the back post, but the attacker got denied by the upright.
Two minutes later, Presentation's Aleem Barclay latched onto a loose ball around the 18 yard box but scuffed his shot. Jordan Riley attempted to stamp his authority on the game in the 22nd minute, as the attacker tried his luck from distance but MVP of the match, Naps' captain and custodian Levi Fernandez, was equal to the task to stop the goal-bound shot.
Naps eased their way back into the game, and Seon Shippley almost caught his opponents sleeping in the 28th minute with a flicked header towards goal after Mark Ramdeen's lobbed pass found him in the penalty area. However, Presentation's goalkeeper Jabari Gray managed to get his glove on the ball to prevent the goal.
Ramdeen had Naps' best opportunity just before the half when he lifted the ball over a Presentation defender on the edge of the box, and fired his low shot into the side-netting.
After the break, the match was still poised at 0-0 as both teams were tentative and determined not to make errors. Naps were awarded a free-kick at the edge of the penalty area in the 65th minute, but the attempt was smashed against the wall by Ramdeen, along with the rebounding effort. He had another chance in the 78th minute when he received a pass inside the 18 yard box but skied his attempt over the crossbar.
Presentation had their opportunities too, but like Naps, were unable to convert in front goal. 'Pres' then found themselves a man down in the dying minutes of the match when Darnell Hospedales saw a straight red card for illegally stopping Ramdeen as he raced past the last defender and towards goal.
With penalties needed to decide a winner, both goalkeepers became the stars of the show by saving several shots during the shootout. After seven kicks each, the sides were still level before Naps finally held their nerve after Presentation had faltered. In the end, Naparima claimed their second title of the season and left with the bragging rights after the derby, as they move on to the National Intercol semis.
Naparima College (4-2-3-1): 1.Levi Fernandez (GK); 5.Daquon Foster, 13.Jeron Pantor, 4.Tyrike Andrews, 8.Kodel Frontin; 6.Shoaib Khan, 17.Nathaniel Perouse; 19.Isa Bramble, 10.Decklan Marcelle, 7.Mark Ramdeen; 20.Seon Shippley.
Unused Substitutes: 30.Enrique Changiah (GK), 9.Ezekiel Kesar, 11.Kern Cedeno, 15.Marvin Waldrop, 16.Akil Johnson, 18.Caleb Gaspar, 21.Nirvan Ramnarine.
Coach: Angus Eve
Presentation College (San F’do) (4-1-4-1): 28.Jabari Gray (GK) (captain); 3.Juaval Roberts, 5.Justin Cornwall, 27.Darnell Hospedales, 2.Zion Allen; 12.Jerrin Jackie; 7.Omri Baird, 15.Aleem Barclay, 10.Jordan Riley, 9.Jaiye Sheppard (29.Jardel Sinclair 86); 6.Ackeel Jacob.
Unused Substitutes: 1.Isaiah Williams (GK), 14.Tylon Roseman, 18.Nkosi Chance, 19.Terrell Noel, 23.Christoph John, 24.Adica Ash.
Coach: Shawn Cooper
Referee: Marlon Perouse