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TTPFL tier two champions Harlem Strikers celebrate their 2-0 win over Defence Force in the final at the Arima Velodrome on June 29th 2024.

Harlem Strikers lifted the 2023/24 Trinidad and Tobago Premier Football League (TTPFL) tier two title at the Arima Velodrome on June 29 when they got a 2-0 victory over Defence Force.

After finishing in third spot in the league campaign, Harlem advanced to the final after getting a resounding 5-1 win in their playoff semifinal on June 23 versus MIC Matura ReUnited, the team which finished the league at the summit of the 15-team table. Defence Force managed a second-place finish in the league and they progressed to the final after getting a nervy 5-4 penalty shootout win against QPCC after the teams played to a goalless draw.

The Army/Coast Guard combination were aiming to finish the season on a high after their tier one outfit won the First Citizens Knockout Cup on May 29 – adding to the TTPFL double the club achieved in the inaugural season last year.

With former Defence Force striker and stalwart Devorn Jorsling orchestrating things from the dugout for Harlem Strikers in his capacity as coach, Defence Force got a rude awakening in the tier two final, as the latter team stormed off with the $150,000 first-place prize.

The teams played out a goalless first half, but similar to their dominant showing against Matura in the semifinals, the Harlem team struck decisively in the second half.

Striker Jiron Francis gave Harlem the lead in the 53rd minute and they held their slender 1-0 advantage for most of the second half. In the latter stages of the game, Ryan Porter secured the victory and the title for Harlem with his 85th-minute goal.

The Harlem players and staff couldn't contain their joy, and they hoisted the trophy aloft and poured the celebratory champagne after being awarded their silverware by TTPFL CEO Colin Wharfe.

Defence Force had their sights on yet another crown, but the efforts of Jorsling's brigade will see them receiving a $90,000 second-place prize. The third place playoff between QPCC and Matura was postponed, and on Monday, Wharfe told Newsday the fixture should be played this week. The third-place tier two team will receive $60,000.

SOURCE: T&T Newsday