A 92nd-minute strike from midfielder, Jardel Sinclair, put an end to Presentation College San Fernando’s 44-year Coca Cola National Intercol title drought and also sank hearts of the San Juan North-faithful when action climaxed in the 2019 finals at Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, on Wednesday.
fter 94 minutes of end-to-end action, Presentation College emerged 2-1 winners following a gruelling encounter which was sadly marred by an ugly last-minute spat, resulting in three players being sent off in the dying seconds. Amidst an explosion of celebration, coach of the newly-crowned champions, Sean Cooper, seemed lost for words after the well-deserved victory.
“Great!” he said, followed by a long pause. “Great! We worked hard for it. Nobody expected us to do this well this year. It’s our rebuilding year. The win is even sweeter having conquered perennial champions Naparima College along the way. More importantly, we kept the titles in South. Despite what anyone says, South continues to dominate schools football.”
In the opening minutes of the first period, San Juan North looked good up front while "Pres" seemed to have a shaky start. San Juan though, capitalised on their fluidity and silenced the hundreds of chanting South fans when Isaiah Chase latched on to a loose ball, in the Presentation area, and notched home the opening goal in the fifth minute.
The "Pres Lions" though, seemed undaunted. Trailing by one goal in the early stages, the Aleem Barclay-led unit buckled down and began to string some nice passes together. Forwards, Ackeel “Hulk” Jacob and Jaiye Sheppard continuously ran at the San Juan defence as they pressed for the equalising goal. San Juan also created several chances but the "Pres" backline stood firm.
With minutes to go before the break, Presentation's custodian launched a long ball which fell to the feet of Sheppard. He sprinted past one defender and then laid it off to a bursting Jacob on the left flank. Jacob rose his head in search of a team-mate and smartly played a penetrative ball behind the San Juan defence, to find a charging Sheppard, who slotted away past goalie Kareem Rodriguez.
At the resumption, both teams seemed to take some pace off their attack. Most of the second half action took place in the middle of the field as Presentation and San Juan sought to conserve their energy. San Juan’s front two, skipper Ronaldo Boyce and Jerry Morris, tried valiantly to break the deadlock but was constantly crowded out by Presentation’s Adica Ash and company.
Both teams had their moments of brilliance in the second period but cancelled each other out on every attempt. The game was also stopped on a few occasions as cramps became a norm due to the extensive mental and physical pressure placed on these young men. However, with four minutes allotted for extra time to go, "Pres" opted for one last charge.
Nkosi Charles collected on the right flank and travelled goalwards. There he would find a surging Sinclair, who made no mistake, hammering home one of Presentation College’s most historic goals in Intercol history. Ato Boldon Stadium exploded in jubilation as San Juan dropped their heads in dismay. Sinclair flung his jersey off in celebration and sprinted to his erupting schoolmates, diving into a sea of celebration.
With just seconds to go and tensions running high, Jacob again burst down the right side and was fouled by a San Juan defender near the corner flag. The "Pres" striker opted to live up to his nickname “Hulk” and confronted the North player, which led to a short scuffle. Players from both teams sprinted over in an attempt to quell the situation, but their presence seemed to add fuel to the fire.
Officials from the Presentation and San Juan camp also got involved in the small fracas. Eventually, the San Juan defender was ejected, followed by Jacob and Justin Cornwall, for their unacceptable involvement. Seconds later, the referee had seen enough, and blew off the heated title match as "Pres" fans stormed the pitch in elation.
SOURCE: T&T Newsday
Sinclair guides Pres to first InterCol title.
By Walter Alibey (Guardian).
Jardel Sinclair may have scored the most important goal of his entire life yesterday.
Although it wasn’t anything spectacular, his simple tap in from N’Kosi Charles’ right-side centre in the 94th minute, earned Presentation College, San Fernando their first-ever Coca Cola National InterCol title with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over San Juan North Secondary at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
The win was also sweet revenge for the southerners, who were beaten by San Juan in 2016 final.
A tearful Pres coach Shawn Cooper said afterwards that it took years and months of hard work but they were finally able to get the job done.
The southerners had been the winners of numerous South Zone InterCol and national league titles previously, but the National InterCol had always eluded them, at least until the multi-talented Sinclair was taken in at the institution and broke the jinx yesterday.
San Juan North, beaten by Presentation in the Premier Division of the SSFL, forged ahead when a throw-in from the left side reached an unmarked Renaldo Boyce in the Pres area in the fourth minute. Boyce collected the throw-in and quickly released to Isaiah Chase, who hit hard and low shot past Pres goalkeeper Isaiah Williams for the 1-0 advantage.
Cooper’s attempt to avoid being beaten twice by San Juan in the final received a major dent at this point.
However, his team settled quickly and was rewarded after a series of attacks on the San Juan goal. Hardworking striker Ackeel Jacob was released down the left flank and he quickly centred for the unmarked Jaiye Sheppard to steer home in the 19th minute.
Pres, who dethroned Naparima College for the 2019 South Zone InterCol crown, had only themselves to blame for not taking the lead in the moments that followed. Sinclair’s acrobatic attempt from Jacob’s lifted pass in the box sailed overbar in the 36th minute. Then Sheppard, who was picked out all alone in the box from a right-side cross, put his header wide with the goal at his mercy.
The scores thus remained 1-1 at the half and when play resumed, Pres launched yet another attack at goal, sending the speedy Sinclair down the right flank to centre for Naim Bisnath to hit an uncontrolled left-footed effort over the crossbar.
The game appeared to be heading for a penalty shoot-out until substitute Charles, following a god bit of skill on the right side, pulled a cross-back for Sinclair to guide into the goal for the winner in the fourth minute of time added on for stoppages and send the southern crowd into wild celebrations.
However, before the end could have been signalled, referee Crystal Sobers had to produce red cards for Presentation’s Jacob and Justin Cornwall, as well as San Juan’s Elisha Garcia for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Presentation College San Fernando 2 (Jaiye Sheppard 19, Jardel Sinclair 90+3), San Juan North Secondary 1 (Isaiah Chase 2) at Ato Boldon Stadium.
(Teams - Wired868.com)
San Juan North Secondary (4-4-2): 1.Emmanuel John (GK); 19.Adrian Duncan, 4.Elisha Garcia (red card) 18.Malik Farrier, 17.Kareem John; 13.Christon Mitchell (23.Daniel Best 74), 8.Keanu John, 6.Jordan Britto, 11.Isaiah Chase; 10.Jerry Morris (7.Tyrique Sutherland 68), 9.Renaldo Boyce (captain).
Unused Substitutes: 22.Kareem Rodriguez (GK), 5.Darion Thomas, 14.Kendo Matthias, 20.Dedell Jones, 21.Pharez Sutherland.
Coach: Jerry Moe
Presentation College San Fernando (4-4-1-1): 1.Isaiah Williams (GK); 2.Nigel Caraby, 3.Luke Charles, 5.Justin Cornwall (red card), 6.Zion Allen; 13.Dantaye Gilbert, 15.Aleem Barclay (captain); 11.Adica Ash (16.Jardel Sinclair 85), 10.Ackeel Jacob (red card), 20.Naeem Bisnath (17.Nkosi Charles 79); 9.Jaiye Sheppard.
Unused Substitutes: 22.Kanye Lazarus (GK), 7.Acelino Medford, 12.Markus Mason, 14.Kassidy Davidson, 19.Shakeem Cooper.
Coach: Shawn Cooper
Referee: Crystal Sobers
Wired868 Man of the Match: Jaiye Sheppard