Trinidad and Tobago’s Central FC aka the ‘Sharks’ continue to enjoy a dream debut season in the Caribbean Football Union Club Championship by trouncing Guyana’s top side Alpha ‘The Hammer’ United 3-1 win Group 1 at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence, last evening.
A double from Ataullah Guerra including a penalty and another from Sean De Silva secured the win for Central.
Needing to win outright, the young T&T Pro League side dominated the host team in every department to earn a place in the semi finals set for next month with a perfect record of two wins in as many matches, scoring five goals while conceding one.
From the outset, the visiting team looked a solid unit, moving the ball around whilst imposing their will on the home team. The Terry Fenwick coached T&T side which also displayed superior fitness took the game away from Alpha very early in the piece.
Guerra netted the first of his brace in the 16th minute, a powerful left foot shot that eluded goalkeeper Ronson Williams after excellent work in midfield by Guerra, Captain Marvin Oliver and Dwight Quintero.
Alpha had hardly settled after falling behind when the Sharks struck again. It was Guerra again who sent Sean De Silva through in the 17th minute and he made no mistake with his shot from inside the box.
The experienced Oliver was a tower of strength in midfield for Central as they continued to dominate and dictate proceedings. Alpha showed in short patches that they were capable of being a more potent unit but fitness was a challenge and they were giving the ball away too easily.
Close to the half way mark however, Alpha won a free kick which was put away into the back of the nets by Konata Manning on the stroke of half time, custodian Jan-Michael Williams was well beaten to his left.
But even before the goal, the introduction of Sheldon Holder for Calvin Shepherd who was the only change to the starting team for Alpha that defeated Inter Moengotapoe (3-0) brought life to the Alpha side seven minutes before the goal.
Central had made five changes to their team that took care of business against Inter, 2-0. The second half saw Central maintaining their stranglehold on the game even as Alpha sought the neutralizing goal.
Central’s superior level of fitness kept them ahead of the game always along with the strategic changes Coach Fenwick made. Quintero made way for first game hero Willis Plaza in the 64th minute; De Silva was replaced by Darren Mitchell in the 75th minute.
Ten minutes later, Mitchell was brought down in the box and Central were awarded the penalty that Guerra buried past Williams whom he sent the wrong way to seal the game and his side’s berth in the final round where they will face the winner of Group 2 in one of two semi finals on May 22.
Alpha inserted Manasseh Primo for Daniel Wilson in the 81st minute and four minutes later, Quincy Madramootoo replaced Manning. Nathaniel Garcia was inserted in the 90+1 minute for Guerra who was later named man-of-the-match.
A delighted Fenwick speaking after the game said that it was a dominant performance by his men, admitting that he knew Alpha would have been strong but his charges were a different class on the night.
“We moved the ball fast and two early goals in the game really killed it for us. We were very disappointed to concede just before half time but in second half we didn’t give any chances up and I thought it was a good, professional, solid performance.”
Fenwick’s opposite number, Wayne Dover said that they were dominated by a fitter T&T unit especially in midfield.
The long standing Alpha tactician stated that they will have to do some serious introspection now noting that at this level players have to have a high level of fitness in order to be competitive.
“If we can’t produce players at this level it makes no sense we enter these tournaments.”
Central, Connection marched into CFU semis.
By Sean Taylor (Express).
A brace from Ataullah Guerra sandwiched Sean De Silva’s excellent right-footed finish as Central FC marched into the semis of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship qualifiers after they beat Aplha 3-1.
The Group One match was played yesterday at the Providence Stadium in Georgetown, Guyana. The Couva-based club needed nothing less than a win against the hosts to advance to the competition’s semi-finals.
Guerra opened the scoring early on with a cannon from his left foot into the bottom corner in the 16th minute. Two minutes later, former U-17 and U-20 World Cup midfielder, De Silva doubled the advantage and there seemed no way back for the Guyanese team.
The hosts pulled halved the deficit on the stroke of half-time with a brilliant free kick. Alpha were in the ascendency for much of the second half as they pushed for the equaliser, but Central killed off the contest when Guerra sent the keeper the wrong way from the penalty spot in the 85th minute.
The win steered Central FC into the semi-finals, and Guerra was named Man of the Match. W Connection also marched into the semis with a whopping 7-2 victory over SAP FC at the Ato Boldon Stadium. Both T&T teams will me on May 22 at the same venue.
Caribbean Club Championship Results
Alpha United 1 (Konata Manning 43), Central FC 3 (Ataullah Guerra 15, 85-Pen, Sean De Silva 16).
W Connection 7 (Jomal Williams 5, Jerrel Britto 9, 81, Hashim Arcia 20, 43, 45, Shahdon Winchester 26), SAP FC 2 (Tevaughn Harriette 59, Steven Roberts 77).