Central FC demonstrated on Saturday that they are deserving of champions status once more—a feat that will make them the first team in the history of the Pro League to win the league three consecutive times.
The Couva Sharks returned to the top of the Digicel Pro League 2016-17 standings with one game day left and a point ahead of rivals W Connection after showing all teeth and bite in a 6-0 romp against 10-man St. Ann’s Rangers.
Kishun Seecharan scored on either side of the break and Darren Mitchell twice in the second half while Jason Marcano and Mickaeel Jem Gordon had a goal each in a display of domination by coach Dale Saunders side.
But it can turn into a sour end for Central (44 points) if they were to lose against third-positioned San Juan Jabloteh (29 points) in their final league game of the truncated season and Connection (43 points) were to win against Ma Pau Stars.
However, judging from their biggest win this term at this stage of the league competition and against a side that had not conceded such a loss in all of this season, the Sharks seem equipped to the task ahead, although second-positioned Connection—on a seven-game winning streak—are biting at their tails.
The 20-year-old Seecharan, who started in place of suspended winger Rundell Winchester, handed the Sharks the lead on 12 minute with a fine left-footed strike beyond Rangers goalie Cleon John and into the back of the net from 18 yards out. It was from a perfectly calibrated pass over the top from Marcano that allowed Seecharan to break the offside trap and enter the area with John at his mercy.
Rangers, although being without the availability of teenagers Rushawn Murphy, Kathon St. Hillaire, Micah Lansiquot and most notably Josh Toussaint who are all currently in a training camp in Columbia with the Trinidad and Tobago Under-20 squad in preparation for upcoming Concacaf final round qualifiers to the Under-20 World Cup, managed to head into the break with the narrow deficit thanks to some fine goalkeeping by John.
But the St. Ann’s club (16 points) crumbled to their ninth defeat in the second half with John helpless between the uprights to remain eighth on the standings, three points below Police FC (19 points) who simultaneously defeated Defence Force (20 points) 3-1 at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium.
Seecharan made it 2-0, completing his double in the 63rd-minute with a thunderous left-footed strike into the top corner of John’s net. “Block the left foot! Block the left foot!” John barked John at his defenders as Seecharan made his way across the top of the box from the right. But a quick exchange and Seecharan was free to fire beyond the Rangers goalie.
Seecharan was offered a chance to complete his first professional hat trick five minutes later, but anxiously skied his attempt over the bar from the penalty spot after former Central attacker Samuel Delice was ruled guilty of dragging down Mitchell inside the area. It was the second penalty miss by Central on the afternoon after Marcano’s attempt from the spot on 20 minutes was kept out by John following defender Richard Williams foul on Kevon Villaroel in the box.
Delice, who Rangers coach Anthony Streete had heavily depended on up front, had flared up at referee Crystal Sobers’ decision to point to the spot in the latter instance and a yellow card quickly turned into the red after he angrily kicked away the ball which flew in her direction.
Central, from then onwards, took full dominance and added four more goals to Rangers’ miseries.
Marcano redeemed himself with a perfectly executed finish into the far bottom corner of John’s net fifteen minutes from time, before solo goals by Tobagonians Gordon and Mitchell from close up in the 79th and 80th minutes, respectively.
Mitchell, the Central captain, then fittingly completed rout in stoppage-time with a cool finish from just inside the six-yard area after a Villaroal played in a low dangerous cross.
The action continues today (Sunday) with Morvant Caledonia United facing Ma Pau Stars from 3:30pm at the Larry Gomes Stadium.
St. Ann's Rangers 0 vs Central FC 6 (Kishun Seecharan 12’, 63’, Jason Marcano 75’, Mickaeel Jem Gordon 79’, Darren Mitchell 80’, 90’+3), at Larry Gomes Stadium;
Police FC 3 (Jameel Perry 36’, 71’, Own Goal 43’) vs Defence Force 1 (Jamille Boatswain 73’), at Mannie Ramjohn Stadium.
St. Ann’s Rangers: 1.Cleon John (GK), 7.Sedale Mc Lean, 8.Jameel Antoine, 10.Devon Modeste (Capt.), 12.Samuel Delice, 14.Kyle Bartholomew, 16.Richard Williams, 24.Jesse Williams, 28.Shakiyl Phillip, 32.Marvin Lee, 33.Osaze Springer (27.Che Benny 61st minute).
Unused substitutes: 22.Christopher Biggette (GK), 11.Kazim Donald, 30.Lester Durham.
Coach: Anthony Streete
Central FC: 21.Jan-Michael Williams (GK), 3.Keion Goodridge, 5.Keston George, 6.Leston Paul, 7.Jason Marcano (45.Tyrik John 77th minute), 8.Sean De Silvia (17.Johan Peltier 75th minute), 11.Darren Mitchell (Capt.), 12.Kishun Seecharan, 24.Kevon Villaroel, 26.Mickaeel Jem Gordon (15.Kaydion Gabriel 81st minute), 33.Julius James.
Unused substitutes: 30.Akel Clarke (GK), 18.Rhondel Gibson, 27.Derron John, 29.Jabari Casaquero.
Coach: Dale Saunders
Referee: Crystal Sobers