Hashim Arcia scored a hat-trick and strike partner Shahdon Winchester a double, among two assists each, as TT Pro League powerhouse DIRECTV W Connection made easy of Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship debutants Guyana Defence Force 7-1 in a lopsided opening Group 2 match on Wednesday night.
The comfortable win placed Connection, a three-time (2001, 2001 & 2009) Caribbean champions, atop the Trinidad group, which was trimmed to three teams after Jamaica’s Waterhouse FC, who participated at last season's CONCACAF Champions League, failed to show for an earlier scheduled match against Antigua and Barbuda’s League champions SAP FC.
The Jamaica Red Stripe Premier League runners-up were supposed to be making their second consecutive appearance at the Caribbean Club Championship but ttproleague.com was informed by CONCACAF general coordinator Linval Johnson on Wednesday night that Waterhouse are officially out of the tournament and that Group 2 had been revised.
The revised Group 2 fixtures will see SAP FC take on Guyana Defence Force from 6 pm on Friday at the Ato Boldon Stadium before the W Connection and SAP FC complete the group on Sunday from 6 pm at the very same Couva venue.
Johnson said information he received from the CFU tournaments committee is that Waterhouse, who were scheduled to arrive in Trinidad since Sunday, kept delaying their travel before final efforts by the club to secure late flights to Trinidad were unsuccessful.
Johnson however, when quizzed further, said he was unaware of rumours, which claimed that Waterhouse’s delays and eventual failure to secure flights were due to players protesting over unpaid per diems, which were promised to them by the Jamaican club.
Earlier this week, Waterhouse captain and Jamaica national team goalkeeper Richard Mc Callum was quoted in the Jamaica Observer as saying: “This year, we are going in just as focused, but the level of [financial] support we had last year is missing this year. Nonetheless, our intention is to do just as good as we did last year, and hopefully we can take it much further.”
However, without Waterhouse, the show went on for seven-time Caribbean Club Championship finalists, W Connection, who are now one win away from winning the Group and securing a place in the semi-final round, with the ultimate ambition of securing one of three available berths at the 2015-2016 CONCACAF Champions League.
“At least it was a good victory for us,” said W Connection head coach Stuart Charles Fevrier following his team’s 7-1 win over Guyana Defence Force.
Fevrier, who expressed total confidence in his team to top the group, added, “You could have seen we are definitely a team much better than they are. I even thought we could have gone for a lot more goals in the second half.
“But after five goals in the first half our players weren’t that motivated in the second half. To them they had already won the game in the first half. It’s 7-1 and it’s a good result for us and we look forward to the next game. Winning a game 7-1, even if everything wasn’t perfect tonight, it’s difficult to get angry at my players. But now it’s a matter of putting this game behind us and starting back at 0-0 against SAP FC in our next game.”
Connection, last season’s Digicel Pro League champions and the current 2014-2015 season's second placed team, starting line-up averaged players between ages of 18 to 25, with 26-year-olds, defensive midfielder Gerard Williams and forward Arcia, the eldest players.
Connection scored twice in a space of two minutes with 18-year-old Akeem Garcia hitting firmly past Guyana Defence Force goalie Derick Carter off an Arcia feed for a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute.
Two minutes later, 23-year-old Connection prodigy Shahdon Winchester cushioned the hosts 2-0 after seizing a poor back-pass by Defence Force captain Selwyn Isaacs and letting off a cool finish past a hapless Carter.
Winchester made it 3-0 in the 25th minute to complete his double against the Guyana soldiers. It was after a right-side move by Garcia and a squared pass inside the box by Arcia that Winchester controlled, then rounded Carter before hitting into an open net.
Coach Stuart Charles Fevrier’s side added two goals before the break and two more from Arcia in the second half before Guyana Defence Force pulled back a consolation item on the final of four minutes stoppage-time given by Barbadian referee Trevor Taylor.
Arcia snatched his first goal of the match in the 32nd minute with a well-timed volley at the back post off a Jerrel Britto cross for a 4-0 score.
The score-line was beyond Guyana Defence Force by the 40th minute when Britto, who was earlier denied three times by Carter and missed an open net in the second half, executed a half volley past the shot-stopper off a Garcia cross to make it 5-0.
And if for some reason there was the faintest of the hope of a comeback by the Guyana Defence Force following the half-time dressing room talk by coach Denzil Thompson, Arcia reminded the visitors of the reality by netting his second goal of the night just seconds after the restart as Connection led 6-0.
The silky moving lanky figure of the W Connection forward made no mistake from the six-yard box, turning a Winchester cross into the back of the net.
Arcia later completed his hat-trick to put Connection 7-0 ahead in the 82nd minute with a low solid finish past Carter, who had made second half saves to deny substitutes Neil Benjamin Jr. and Colombian Jhon Stiven Lopez. But Carter was unable to deny Arcia who hit from the top of the six-yard area off a perfectly placed right side feed by Benjamin.
Arcia missed out on a fourth with four minutes of regulation time left when he guided substitute Jomal Williams' cross wide at the back post.
Connection were later unable to keep a clean sheet and the score-line ended 7-1 after Delroy Fraser scored in the 94th minute for the Guyana Defence Force, even winning a broad smile on the face of forward Eusi Phillips, who saw his much earlier second half attempt cleared off the goal line by the head of Gerard Williams.
Fraser powered his way past Connection’s 20-year-old left back Triston Hodge and unleashed a right-footer from the top of the box, with the ball clipping the underside of the crossbar before sinking into the back goalkeeper Julani Archibald’s net.
And to probably ease the disappointment of the Guyana Defence Force, their loss wasn’t the most embarrassing of the 2015 CFU Club Championship opening day.
Don Bosco FC, hosts of Group 4 in Haiti, topped Bahamian outfit Lyford Cay FC 10-0 at the Stade Sylvio Cator following a 2-2 between Helenites Sporting Club of the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Unite Sainte Rose of Guadeloupe.
In Guyana, Group 1 hosts Alpha United defeated Suriname’s Inter Moengotapoe 3-0 at the Providence Stadium, while in Group 3, hosted in Haiti, home side America FC defeated Suriname’s SV Excelsior 4-2 at the Complexe Sportif Des Cays after Jamaica Red Stripe Premier League champions edged Guadeloupe’s Club Sportif Moulien 1-0.
The CFU Club Championship will resume on Friday and includes current Digicel Pro League leaders Central FC against Suriname powerhouse Inter Moengotapoe in Group 1 from 4 pm at Providence Stadium in Guyana. (See revised fixtures and results below)
Wednesday’s Group 2 match at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Trinidad
W Connection 7 (Akeem Garcia 18', Shahdon Winchester 20', Shahdon Winchester 25, Hashim Arcia 32', 46', 82’, Jerrel Britto 40') vs Guyana Defence Force 1 (Delroy Fraser 90’+4)
W Connection: 18.Julani Archibald; 3.Gerard Williams, 5.Mekeil Williams (C), 9.Shahdon Winchester, 12.Jerrel Britto (40.Jomal Williams 57th), 14.Hashim Arcia, 26.Maurice Ford (8.Jhon Stiven Lopez 46th), 27.Shannon Gomez, 29.Akeem Garcia (65.Neil Benjamin Jr. 55th), 36.Triston Hodge, 39.Alvin Jones
Unused substitutes: 2.Kurt Frederick, 20.Christian Rodriguez, 22.Aquelius Sylvester (GK), 25.Christian Viveros
Coach: Stuart Charles Fevrier
Guyana Defence Force: 2.Derick Carter; 3.Seon Prince, 4.Selwyn Isaacs (C), 5.Eusi Phillips, 6.Nigel Braithwaite, 7.Desford Williams (15.Delroy Fraser 47th), 9.Delwin Fraser, 10.Keon Ceasar, 11.Eon Alleyne, 14.Glenorvon Edmonds (13.Keivin Sullivan 35th), 18.Kenard Simon (21.Trevon Lythcott 59th)
Unused substitutes: 1.Oswald Cornette (GK), 12.Tyrone Lewis, 16.Rawl Ramsey, 19.Mark Jahlu
Coach: Denzil Thompson