DIRECTV W Connection looks set to secure one of three Caribbean spots in the 2013-2014 CONCACAF Champions’ League after defeating fellow TT Pro League club Caledonia AIA with an impressive 4-0 win on Friday night at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
Connection now leads Group I of the Caribbean qualifiers to the CCL with 3 points, and will take on Barracuda FC of Antigua and Barbuda from 6pm On Tuesday at the Couva venue to wrap up the three-team group.
But the Antiguans, who are reported 6-1 losers in a practice match against Trinidadian club Central FC this week, will kick off their qualifying effort on Sunday from 5pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium against Caledonia with both teams in a must win situation.
Joevin Jones, who only a week ago scored a double to lead Connection 2-1 over Caledonia in the semi-final round of the domestic Lucozade Sport Goal Shield, scored another pair of goals on Friday night as his side cruised past the Morvant-Laventille club.
The inspirational defender-turned-attacker opened the scoring in just the 6th minute of play when he opened up a left-footed strike on a Hashim Arcia cross, which skidded across the area on the wet surface, to beat goalkeeper Shemel Louision into the upper near corner for a 1-0 Connection lead.
And in the 81st minute of play, Jones latched onto a Stefano Rijssell pass just inside the area and produced a delicate chip over Louision, by which time Connection led with a comfortable 3-0 score.
Caledonia had a great opening in the 17th minute to find the back of the Connection but instead striker Jamal Gay struck his effort directly at goalkeeper Alejandro Figueroa near the first post after getting past defender Daneil Cyrus.
Then in the 21st minute, Cyrus, who had appealed for a foul against Gay, had a clear opening from a Rijssel cross but headed overbar.
Caledonia, without its motivational midfielder Densill Theobald in the starting lineup, survived another in the 26th minute when a timely interception by wingback Kareem Joseph kept out a Jones attempt at close range.
But from the resulting corner an unmarked Andrei Pacheco headed in a Clyde Leon kick for a 2-0 Connection cushion in the 27th minute.
And as Caledonia tried to pull themselves back into it, Connection needed a superb save out of Figueroa in the 30th minute to push behind Nathan Lewis’ left-footed crack at goal. Kareem Joseph too, had a go at goal five minutes later from a freekick some 35 yards out which deflected just over bar.
But Jones had all the attention.
In the 37th minute after winning a freekick against Keyon Edwards, the 21 year old had goalkeeper Louision into action and winning a corner from his freekick.
And seconds before the stroke of halftime Jones was gifted another opportunity after Louison’s poor headed clearance fell to him midway into the Caledonia half. However he missed the target, not by much, with a looping effort as Louision retreated towards goal.
Caledonia then resorted to introducing Theobald still recovering from a minor injury, and through his efforts managed a strike from distance forcing a low save out of Figueroa in the 70th minute.
But by Jones’ second item nine minutes from time, it stifled a comeback by the Morvant-Laventille.
And in the 89th minute following another instance of slack defending by Caledonia, Connection’s Surinamese forward Rijssel completed the 4-0 win by blasting a strike past a hapless Louision.
Meanwhile in Jamaica—hosts of Group II—Haitian club Valencia defeated Puerto Rico’s Bayamon FC 3-1 at the Tony Spaulding Sports Complex to go atop the group.
Carlos Maria had Bayamon ahead in the 9th minute, but Valencia fired back with goals by Augustin Walson (20th minute), Pompee Mardochee (29th minute) and Amy Andre (86th minute).
In the second match between Jamaican clubs Portmore United and Boys Town, a late Ricardo Morris (83rd minute) gave Portmore a 1-0 victory.
On Sunday Portmore tackles Valencia from 6pm and Boys Town against Bayamon from 8pm, before heading into the final day on Tuesday when Portmore and Bayamon contest each other from 6pm, and Boys Town against Valencia from 8pm.
The two group winners will automatically qualify for the Champions’ League, while the two second placed teams will play in a two-match playoff in May to decide the third and final Caribbean CCL spot.
Caribbean qualifiers to the 2013-2014 CONCACAF Champions’ League Results
Group II (Tony Spaulding Sports Complex, Jamaica)
Bayamon FC (Puerto Rico) 1—3 Valencia (Haiti)
Carlos Maria 9’ ; Augustin Walson 20’, Pompee Mardochee 29’, Amy Andre 86’
Portmore United (Jamaica) 1—0 Boys Town FC (Jamaica)
Ricardo Morris 83’
Group I (Ato Boldon Stadium, Trinidad)
W Connection (T&T) 4—0 Caledonia AIA (T&T)
Joevin Jones 6’, 81’ Andrei Pacheco 27’, Stefano Rijssell 89’
W Connection—Alejandro Figueroa, Cleon John (capt.) (Tremain Jean Paul 88th), Daneil Cyrus, Gerrard Williams, Hashim Arcia, Andrei Pacheco (Silvio Spann 77th), Leslie Joel Russell, Christian Viveros, Stefano Rijssel (Neil Benjamin Jr. 91st), Kurt Frederick, Joevin Jones.
Unused substitutes—Aquelius Sylvester, Eligah Joseph, Jomal Williams, Alvin Jones.
Technical Director/Head Coach—Stuart Charles Fevrier
Caledonia AIA—Shemel Louison, Stephan David (capt.), Aubrey David, Nuru Abdullah Muhammad, Aquil Selby, Keyon Edwards (Yellow Card) (Miguel Alejandro Romeo 90th), Kareem Joseph, Akim Armstrong, Jamal Gay (Sherron Joseph 72nd), Vurlon Mills (Densill Theobald 55th) (Yellow Card), Nathan Lewis.
Unused substitutes—Glenroy Samuel, Colin Nelson, Aaron Lester, Odelle Armstrong, Akeem Thomas.
Match Referees Raymond Bogle (Jamaica)
Assistant Referee 1 Richard Washington (Jamaica)
Assistant Referee 2 Graeme Browne (St. Kitts & Nevis)
Fourth Official Yadel Martinez (Cuba)
Upcoming Fixtures [Group One]
Ato Boldon Stadium, Trinidad
Sunday 28 April
Caledonia AIA (T&T) vs Antigua Barracuda (Antigua and Barbuda)—5pm
Tuesday 30 April
W Connection (T&T) vs Antigua Barracuda (Antigua and Barbuda)—6pm
Tony Spaulding Sports Complex, Jamaica [Group Two]
Sunday 28 April
Portmore United (Jamaica) vs Valencia FC (Haiti)—6pm
Boys Town FC (Jamaica) vs Bayamon FC (Puerto Rico)—8pm
Tuesday 30 April
Portmore United (Jamaica) vs Bayamon FC (Puerto Rico)—6pm
Boys Town FC (Jamaica) vs Valencia FC (Haiti)—8pm