Claudia Saucedo was the heroine as she netted with eight minutes left on the clock to earn 94.1FM Boom Champions Fuego a hard fought 2–2 draw with CNGC Rush and with it, the title on goal-difference from Chancellor Angels when the inaugural six-team Women’s Premier League climaxed on Thursday night.
WPL Golden Boot winner Jazmin Elizondo opened the scoring as early as the sixth minute for the Dragons with another left footed rocket.
But Angels, captained by Jamaican Jodi-Ann McGregor in the absence of injured Women Soca Warriors captain Maylee Attin-Johnson, would not ride off gently into the sunset and found an equaliser through Kandice Franklin after Dragons failed to clear a right-sided cross on the stroke of half-time to set up and interesting second period.
Despite numerous chances being created at both ends of the field, the second half failed to produce any more goals, which meant Dragons ended with ten points, and left the door open for Fuego.
Fuego now needed only a draw and it got off to the perfect start against CNGC Rush as Camila Demezio tucked in a shot at the near post 23rd minute for a 1–0 lead which her team took into the break.
However, four minutes after the restart Crisbelis Abraham got Rush on level terms and in the 70th minute, Fuego and its coach Richard Hood were stunned when Nuniluz Rangel fired Rush into a 2–1 lead.
The pressure was now on Fuego as they surged forward in numbers with little or no luck on some near misses and missed calls by the officials.
But with eight minutes left in the match, American Claudia Saucedo broke free and scored the equalising goal that sent the crowd into raptures, and at the final whistle, the score was 2–2 and Boom Champions Fuego were in champagne central.
Both Fuego and Angels ended with ten points from their five matches and a goal-difference of plus-four, however, based on scoring more goals Fuego (13 goals) to Angels (nine) were crowned as winners.
Among the guests at the final of the tournament, the brainchild of Minister of Sports, Brent Sancho, were T&T Red Steel captain Dwayne Bravo, Pan American Games 2015 silver medallist Njisane Phillip, World Championship Track & Field gold medallist Jehue Gordon, Olympic sailor Andrew Lewis, former Soca Warrior striker Stern John and Junior Pan Am record breaking cyclist Kollyn St George.
Rush: 18.Emily Marie Cota; 16.Sharice Arthur, 4.Rhea Belgrave, 20.Nadia James, 5.Annalis Cummings; 11.Janine Francois, 7.Priscila “Pri” Selau, 17.Nuniluz Rangel; 12.Ahkeela Mollon (capt), 10.Mariah Shade, 9.Crisbelis “Cris” Abraham.
Unused Substitutes: 3.Adeka Spence, 6.Tamika Isaac, 13.Afeisha Mohammed, 15.Joyce Mattos.
Coach: Marlon Charles.
Fuego: 1. Letícia “Lele” Bussato; 15.Patrice Superville, 4.Ermelinda “Linda” Pantaleao, 3.Anastasia Prescott, 16.Tanesia Vassell; 10.Tasha St Louis (captain), 11.Christina Murray (83.Jamila Matlin 83rd); 9.Shanelle Warrick; 14.Claudia Saucedo, 12.Jo Marie Lewis, 8. Camila “Kamilinha” Demezio (18.Denisha Thomas 75th).
Unused Substitutes: 21.Priscilla Tapia Castillo (GK), 2.Diamond Henderson, 6.Nickisha James, 7.Zaudita Kaza-Amlak.
Coach: Richard Hood.
Referee: Kevin Smart.
Dragons 1 (Jazmin Elizondo 6) v Angels 1 (Kandace Franklyn 45+2) at St James.
Player of the Match: Jazmin Elizondo (Dragons).
Rush 2 (Cris 49, Nubyluz “Nuby” Rangel 70) v Fuego 2 (Kamilinha 23, Saucedo 82).
Player of the Match: Letícia “Lele” Bussato (Fuego).
Golden Boot: Jazmin Elizondo (Dragons–3 goals in 2 games).
Golden Glove: Letícia “Lele” Bussato (Fuego).
MVP: Jodi-Ann McGregor (Angels).
WPL All Star Team (Voted by Coaches)
Goalkeeper: Letícia “Lele” Bussato (Fuego)
Defenders: Karyn “Baby” Forbes (Oilers), Ermelinda “Linda” Pantaleao (Fuego), Jaclyn Poucel (Angels), Jodie Redgrave (Angels).
Midfielders: Joseane “Lulu” Azevedo (Wave), Christina Murray (Fuego), Tasha St Louis (Fuego), Jodi-Ann McGregor (Angels).
Forwards: Shakira Duncan (Wave), Kayla Taylor (Oilers).