Sat, Aug

BRAZILIAN midfielder Gefferson Goulart marked his return to Trinidad and Tobago football with a first-round hat-trick to give Vibe CT 105 W Connection an emphatic 4-0 victory over defending champions National Quarries North East Stars at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva yesterday on the first day of the 2005 T&T Pro League.

W Connection are now the early leaders in the competition, after CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh drew goalless with Caledonia AIA/Fire in yesterday's other match played at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella.

Goulart and fellow Brazilian Ronaldo Viana spent the last year and a half in Bosnia Hezegovina on loan to FC Zelenik, who played in the UEFA Cup last season after finishing third in their domestic league.

Yesterday's tough tackling match saw home team W Connection taking the lead as early as the seventh minute when striker Andre Toussaint converted a penalty. Toussaint won the penalty when he was pulled down by defender Glenton Wolffe and referee Ted Gordon immediately pointed to the spot. Toussaint then stepped up to take the kick, sending goalkeeper Trevor Nottingham the wrong way.

The Sangre Grande-based Stars had an excellent chance to grab an equaliser in the 26th minute, through Jerren Nixon, last year's Most Valuable Player. But faced with only keeper Jan Michael Williams to beat, Nixon only succeeded in hitting the post with a feeble flick from the left side of the penalty area.

A minute later, Brazilian William Da Silva Oliviera tested Nottingham with a hard shot which the Stars keeper did well to keep out, and Connection also had another chance in the 30th minute when Jose Luis Seabra's left- footer just skimmed the top of the post on its way out of play.

And before the half ended, Nottingham again rescued the defending champions when getting his body in the way of a shot from Toussaint.

The Stars came out fighting in the second half and again would have levelled the score in the 46th minute had keeper Williams not gotten his body in the way of Anthony Wolffe's powerful shot.

Connection then took advantage of the reprieve when Goulart capitalised on a defensive blunder to stab the ball in from close up in the 67th minute to give his team a 2-0 lead.

The Brazilian got his second in the 75th minute when he collected a pass from Earl Jean on the left and blasted the ball low into the Stars' net.

The fast-paced match saw six yellow cards being dished out by referee Ted Gordon who gave cautions to Seabra (16th), Andre Toussaint (22nd), David Atiba Clarles (72nd) and Kendall Davis (77th) of Connection, while Stars players Anthony (9th) and Glenton Wolffe (6th) also received yellow cards.

It got worse for Stars when Abasi McPherson was given a red card in the 76th minute for violent conduct after kicking a player.

Goulart then complete his hat-trick three minutes into time-added-on when collecting a square pass from Viana and giving Nottingham no chance with a powerful, low left footer.