Former champions W Connection and Couva-rivals Central FC both narrowly advanced into the quarter-final round of the Toyota Classic 2015 via penalty kicks at the Mahaica Oval on Friday night.
Connection, Toyota Classic champions in 2005, 2011 and 2013, defeated Club Sando 5-3 from the spot after a 0-0 draw in the first match of a Round of 16 double-header at the Point Fortin venue.
Then in the later match, which also ended in a 0-0 stalemate, Central, who finished the heated encounter with 10-men, surfaced 3-2 winners after a dramatic shoot-out involving home side Point Fortin Civic.
Civic, leading 2-1 on kicks, had a gift of an opportunity to apply further pressure on Central after goalkeeper Miles Goodman had blanked Willis Plaza—the Trinidad and Tobago international seemingly lost his composure due to a three-minute wait for the top of the netting to be repaired after a thunderous kick from Civic’s Andrei Pacheco had beaten goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams.
However Civic failed to find the back of the net again with winger Akeem Redhead blasting his attempt into the night sky before Williams denied substitute Jared Bennett and Bevon Bass struck the base of the upright.
Unlucky for Troy Moses, who scored along with Pacheco, and goalkeeper Goodman, who produced another save to deny Central’s Leston Paul, that the Couva Sharks, courtesy converted kicks from Ataulla Guerra, Andre Ettienne and Darren Mitchell, were the ones celebrating a quarter-finals spot.
Central, the defeated First Citizens Cup finalists a week ago, moves into the quarter-final round where they will meet Morvant Caledonia United, 5-3 winners over Super League opponents 1976 FC Phoenix last Wednesday.
While Connection, fresh from last week’s First Citizens Cup crowning, will meet Toyota Classic 2012 champions North East Stars, who hammered Super League side Siparia Spurs 8-0 in their Round of 16 fixture last Wednesday.
Shahdon Winchester, Jomal Williams, Dwight Quintero, Kurt Frederick and Gerard Williams were all clinical from the spot to beat Sando goalkeeper Alexei Julien.
While Sando, this season’s First Citizens Cup third place winners, paid the price of defeat after Akeem Humphrey, who had a brilliant regulation-time performance, hammered his side’s third kick onto the crossbar.
Kevon Woodley, Kemuel Rivers and Kern Cupid, who were part of six former Connection players fielded by Sando, converted their kicks.
Connection started the game without regular captain Alvin Jones, while the club’s leading scorer in all competitions this season, Jomal, was utilised off the bench.
Coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier had called on the services of Jomal following a goalless first half which included stand-in captain Neil Benjamin Jr. fluffing an attempt wide in the 3rd minute with goalkeeper Julien at his mercy after collecting a defence-splitting pass by vice-captain Winchester.
Under half hour later Benjamin returned the favour with a low pass across the area but Winchester’s effort lacked the desired sting, affording Julien a comfortable gather.
There were further attempts by either side, but little to trouble opposite goalkeepers, forcing the repeat of the 2013 final, which Connection won, to be decided from the spot.
As expected, the second match of the double header didn’t lack intensity between home-side Civic and Central. The contest also had some teeth to it, forcing referee Cecile Hinds to intervene on numerous occasions, including ejecting Central midfielder Elijah Manners with a direct red card in the 67th minute for a lunging tackle on Civic’s Glenn Sutton.
It was a tough day at the office for Central, the reigning league and Caribbean champions, as Civic slugged it out in every area of the pitch, taking full advantage of the absence of Central’s star midfielder Marvin Oliver, who missed the match due to being suspended by his club for an internal matter.
Central head coach Ross Russell fielded former Civic defensive ace Andre Ettienne and midfielder Ataulla Guerra for the first time after lengthy lay-offs due to injury but even that failed offer much against the side they defeated 3-0 in league action at the same venue on September 26.
Guerra had troubled goalkeeper Goodman from distance in the fifth minute when the ball took an awkward bounce and two minutes later Jason Marcano had the ball into the back of the net, but the offside flag had already been lifted.
Marcano failed to win the luck of the flag again in the 73rd minute after his deflected strike, following a run and cross from the left by Marcus Joseph, ended in the back of the Civic net.
Goodman, who kept out a low Marcus Joseph volley at the near post in the 18th minute, produced another excellent save on the hour mark to keep out a Plaza effort off a Marcano free-kick.
Despite their improved efforts, including a stoppage-time Andrei Pacheco free-kick which clipped the top of the upright and attempts earlier by Troy Moses and Redhead which were blanked by opposing goalkeeper Williams, Civic eventually fell on penalties.
Round of 16 action continues today (Saturday) at the Larry Gomes Stadium with St. Ann’s Rangers against Pro League counterpart Defence Force from 3 pm.
Then on Sunday, the Guayaguayare Recreation Ground will come alive when home side Guaya United welcomes Police FC from 3 pm, and simultaneously at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Super League side Marabella Family Crisis Centre will take on defending Toyota Classic champions San Juan Jabloteh.
W Connection 0 (5) vs Club Sando 0 (3) (B2)
W Connection won the match 5-3 on penalties
Kicks from the penalty mark
W Connection 5 v Club Sando 3
Shahdon Winchester (scored) - Kevon Woodley (scored)
Jomal Williams (scored) - Kemuel Rivers (scored)
Dwight Quintero (scored) - Akeem Humphrey (post)
Kurt Frederick (scored) - Kern Cupid (scored)
Gerard Williams (scored)
Point Fortin Civic 0 (2) vs Central FC 0 (3) (A1)
Central won the match 3-2 on penalties
Kicks from the penalty mark
Point Fortin Civic 2 v Central FC 3
Troy Moses (scored) - Ataullah Guerra (scored)
Andrei Pacheco (scored) - Willis Plaza (saved)
Akeem Redhead (missed) - Andre Ettienne (scored)
Jared Bennett (saved) - Leston Paul (saved)
Bevon Bass (post) - Darren Mitchell (scored)
W Connection: 18.Julani Archibald; 2.Kurt Frederick, 3.Gerard Williams, 5.Triston Hodge (4.Maurice Ford 77th), 8.Briel Thomas (Yellow Card) (19.Dwight Quintero 65th), 9.Shahdon Winchester (Yellow Card), 11.Neil Benjamin Jr. (Capt.), 14.Andre Toussaint, 17.Aikim Andrews, 25.Christian Felipe Ocoro Viveros, 34.Jabari Mitchell (10.Jomal Williams 60th)
Unused substitutes: 1.Terrence Lewis (GK), 13.Kion Joseph, 21.Shannon Gomez, 46.Anfernee Frederick
Coach: Stuart Charles Fevrier
Club Sando: 33.Alexei Julien; 5.Devon Drayton, 6.Kemuel Rivers, 7.Akeem Humphrey, 8.Jeromie Williams, 11.Teba Mc Knight (Capt.) (20.Keith Williams 82nd), 13.Kern Cupid, 16.Kevon Woodley (Yellow Card), 17.Jared London, 22.Corneal Thomas, 24.Devon Modeste (19.Ryan Frederick 77th)
Unused substitutes: 9.Jessie Downing, 15.Amrit Gildharry, 18.Shane Hospidales, 26.Shaquille Holder, 34.Kelvin Henry (GK)
Coach: Anthony Streete
Match Referee: Kevin Smart
Point Fortin Civic: 1.Miles Goodman; 15.Nedeon Noel (Yellow Card), 2.Garyl Doldron (28.Jared Bennett 68th), 11.Tigana Sparks, 19.Andrei Pacheco, 27.Kern Peters, 12.Glenn Sutton (Yellow Card), 8.Akeem Redhead, 16.Kelvin Modeste (Capt.) (Yellow Card) (7.Nickcolson Thomas 46th), 25.Troy Moses, 99.Corey Cyrus (10.Bevon Bass 82nd)
Unused substitutes: 52.Akini Adams (GK), 21.Rondell Paul, 14.Kerwin Stafford, 23.Mickell Charles
Coach: Leroy De Leon
Central FC: 21.Jan-Michael Williams; 2.Elton John (Yellow Card), 4.Andre Ettienne, 7.Jason Marcano (11.Darren Mitchell 79th), 12.Jamal Jack, 17.Marcelle Francois, 25.Elijah Manners (Red Card), 33.Willis Plaza, 45.Ataullah Guerra, 99.Marcus Joseph (14.Nicholas Dillon 82nd), 22.Leston Paul
Unused substitutes: 6.Kerry Baptiste, 30.Akel Clarke (GK), 19.Nathaniel Garcia, 26.Mickaeel Jem Gordon, 23.Jean-Luc Rochford
Coach: Ross Russell
Match Referee: Cecile Hinds
Upcoming Round of 16 matches
Saturday 7 November 2015
St. Ann’s Rangers vs Defence Force (Pro League) (D2)—3 pm, Larry Gomes Stadium
Sunday 8 November 2015
Guaya United vs Police FC (C1)—3 pm, Guayaguayare Recreation Ground
Marabella Family Crisis Centre vs San Juan Jabloteh (C2)—3 pm, Manny Ramjohn Stadium
Quarter Final Round
Central FC vs Morvant Caledonia United (E)
North East Stars vs W Connection (F)
Winners C1 vs Winners C2 (G)
FC Santa Rosa vs Winners D2 (H)
Semi Final Round
Winners E vs Winners F
Winners G vs Winners H
Toyota Cup: Central suspend Oliver; Sharks without playmaker for Civic clash.
By Lasana Liburd (wired868)
Central FC will be without veteran playmaker Marvin Oliver for tomorrow’s Toyota Classic Cup Round of 16 contest with Point Fortin Civic, after the inspirational dreadlocked midfielder was suspended for a bizarre internal matter.
The “Couva Sharks” face Point Fortin Civic from 8 pm on Friday night in the second match of a double header at the Mahaica Oval. DIRECTV W Connection square off with Club Sando in the earlier fixture from 5.30 pm at the same venue.
However, coach Ross Russell will not have Oliver’s services for the knock out match, due to the 40-year-old player’s reaction to a club fine.
Several Central players did not return from the dressing room to collect their silver medals after their 2-1 loss to bitter Couva rivals, W Connection, in the 2015 First Citizens Bank Cup final on October 30.
Central CEO Brent Sancho and operations director Kevin Harrison were said to be furious at the snub and letters were allegedly relayed to the entire squad through manager Kevin Jeffrey.
Those who did not collect medals were fined five percent of their salaries, without hearings, while those who picked up their medals were warned not to copy their less graceful teammates.
According to an anonymous source, Oliver threw the letter on the ground and the club management responded by suspending him for one week.
Since the disciplinary letters merely informed the players of the club’s unilateral decision, Oliver could, arguably, be said to have been suspended for littering.
Thus far, Harrison has not responded to a request for comment from Wired868 while Jeffrey could not be reached.
The impasse is the latest sign of unease between the players and directors at Central, which first surfaced two months ago. Twenty-four of the squad’s 29 players signed petitions in September that urged SIS directors not to allow Harrison and Sancho back at the club with allegations of financial misconduct hanging over their heads.
Instead, SIS essentially washed their hands of all responsibility for the club and handed the reins to the new managerial triumvirate of Sancho, Harrison and Bankers Insurance CEO Vance Gabriel.
Since then, Central have paid off and released former football operations manager Anthony Rougier and technical director Zoran Vranes. Rougier is now director of football at Fyzabad Secondary.
On the field, the club’s results remain largely positive though.
Central are joint top of the Pro League with seven points from three games while they finished second in the First Citizens Cup.
Despite Oliver’s absence, Russell received a boost this week as attacking midfielder Ataulla Guerra returned to full training and he is expected to play against Civic tomorrow.
Central goalkeeper and captain Jan-Michael Williams and striker Willis Plaza will both feature too before they jet off on Saturday to prepare for Trinidad and Tobago’s upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifying matches against Guatemala and the United States on November 13 and 17 respectively.
Upcoming Toyota Classic Cup fixtures
Friday November 6
W Connection v Club Sando, 5.30 pm, Mahaica Oval;
Point Fortin Civic v Central FC, 8 pm, Mahaica Oval;
(Saturday November 7)
St Ann’s Rangers v Defence Force, 3 pm, Larry Gomes Stadium;
(Sunday November 8.)
Police FC v Guaya United, 3 pm, Guayaguayare Recreation Ground;
Marabella CC v S/Juan Jabloteh, 3 pm, Mannie Ramjohn Stadium