Central outlasts Police on P/kicks and Cale’ edge Army to set semi-final dates with Sando and Connection, respectively
Twenty-five open play goals were tallied by the end of the quarter-final round tonight (Sunday) in the 2015 First Citizens Cup which also included two qualifier matches this season, while setting up interesting semi-final round clashes for Friday.
Central were in alarm mode twice tonight before eventually advancing into next Friday's semi-final round with a 4-3 penalty kicks win over Police.
Police had equalised on the 90th minute through substitute attacker Keon Wilson for a 2-2 score, forcing the match into kicks from the spot after the Couva Sharks rebounded from a goal down to take 2-1 lead.
But the 2013 and 2014 FCC champions were clinical from the spot to advance into the semis against tournament debutants, Club Sando, who were 3-1 winners over St. Ann's Rangers on Saturday.
Open play scorers Marvin Oliver and Willis Plaza, and midfielders Leston Paul and Sean De Silva were all successful in putting the ball past Police goalkeeper Adrian Foncette from the spot.
While a fourth kick missed effort by Police’s Jasimar Ashers and a fifth kick save by Central goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams to deny Kareem Freitas saw the Lawmen bow out after clinical strikes by open play scorer and team captain Todd Ryan, and Jibri Mc David and Clevon Mc Fee from the spot.
In the earlier match of the quarter-final double header at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Morvant Caledonia United advanced with a 2-1 win over Defence Force, an exciting clash between the two-time champions.
MCU advances into semi-final day against six-time champions W Connection, who defeated Point Fortin Civic 3-1 in the second match of the Saturday’s QF double-header at Mahaica Oval.
MCU scored first when Antiguan Eugine Kirwan bundled a Jamaal Harvey cross over the line at the back post in the 37th minute. And to add insult to injury, Akeem Roach made it 2-0 five minutes before the half.
Roach, who joined MCU during the offseason after making his Pro League debut with Defence Force last season, rifled the ball into the back of goalkeeper Sheldon Clarke’s netting following a right side move involving Kirwan and Jameel Neptune.
MCU were unfortunate not to score even earlier in a half they dominated when Harvey’s sliced attempt crashed off the upright in the 34th minute. The Guyanese midfielder also caused Clarke some trouble from distance in the 50th minute but the Defence Force goalie’s full stretch managed to put the ball wide.
Defence Force, 3-2 winners over San Juan Jabloteh in the qualifier round, had themselves to blame from early on, while MCU goalkeeper Marvin Phillip deserved the bulk of credit although he was beaten in the 90th minute.
Defence Force forward Richard Roy, who wasted an excellent scoring chance in the 19th minute, glanced a header beyond the reach of Phillip after the Trinidad and Tobago national team shot-stopper had initially kept out an attempt by the forward before Marvin Jones swung rebound back across goal.
However Phillip’s heroics between the uprights with saves against Sean Narcis and Jerwyn Balthazar and substitutes Devorn Jorsling and Kishon Seecharan proved vital.
Later on, Phillip’s national goalkeeping teammate Jan-Michael Williams was unfortunate three minutes before the half in the second QF on Sunday.
A powerfully struck Todd Ryan free-kick from 30 yards out cannoned off the base of the upright before hitting the body of Williams and entering the net for a 1-0 Police lead.
But a headed goal by Marvin Oliver, beating Foncette in the 48th minute, pulled Central level, 1-1. The 40-year-old Central star elevated himself ahead of the Police defence to meet a Marcus Joseph free-kick swung in from the right for his second goal of the tournament.
Much earlier, Foncette was forced into an acrobatic save just four minutes into the match by his own forward, Jameel Perry, who misdirected a clearance. Then on the 37th minute the T&T third choice goalie pulled off a superb one-handed save to deny Oliver.
Foncette had little support again in the 79th minute when Plaza grabbed his third goal of the tournament, tying level with Club Sando’s hat-trick scorer, Kevon “Showtime” Woodley.
Plaza, who netted a double in a 4-1 win over North East Stars in the qualifier round, smashed a rebound past Foncette for a 2-1 Central lead. Plaza was brilliantly on the left to evade his markers before slipping a pass to De Silva inside the area, and after the midfielder’s attempt crashed off the far upright, the T&T forward was alive in the box to take full advantage.
The Couva Sharks, however, failed to hold on till the final whistle. After a couple late overbar attempts from Police players Kurdell Brathwaite and Christon Thomas, Keon Wilson grabbed the Lawmen equaliser in stoppage time after Thomas sliced an effort across the crowded box to send the contest into kicks from the penalty mark.
All teams will shift their focus to the Digicel Pro League 2015-16 championship on Tuesday in Round One Match Day Two.
Defending DPL champions Central FC will take on Defence Force from 6 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium and simultaneously at the Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin Civic will host San Juan Jabloteh.
Also from 6 pm, St. Ann’s Rangers and Club Sando will meet at the Hasely Crawford Stadium prior to an 8 pm clash between Morvant Caledonia United and W Connection, in a preview of Friday’s FCC semi-final clash. While North East Stars and Police FC must kick off the DPL fixtures on Tuesday from 4 pm at the Larry Gomes Stadium.
Morvant Caledonia United 2 (Eugine Kirwan 37’, Akeem Roach 40’) vs Defence Force 1 (Richard Roy 90’) (QF 3)
Police FC 2 (Todd Ryan 42’, Keon Wilson 90’+) vs Central FC 2 (Marvin Oliver 48’, Willis Plaza 79’) (QF 4)
Central won the match 4-3 on kicks from the penalty mark
Police FC 3 v Central FC 4
Todd Ryan (scored) - Marvin Oliver (scored)
Jibri Mc David (scored) - Willis Plaza (scored)
Clevon Mc Fee (scored) - Leston Paul (scored)
Jasimar Ashers (off target) - Sean De Silva (scored)
Kareem Freitas (saved)
Morvant Caledonia United: 1.Marvin Phillip; 4.Ordell Flemming, 9.Eugine Kirwan (23.Shaquille Edwards 76th), 12.Kareem Joseph, 13.Kyle Bartholomew, 14.Kennedy Isles (29.Kareem Knights 82nd), 15.Otev Lawrence, 18.Akeem Roach, 20.Jamal Harvey (11.Abdallah Phillips 71st), 21.Densill Theobald, 22.Jameel Neptune
Unused substitutes: 3.Ranaldo Bailey, 10.Sheldon Holder, 24.Gregory President, 30.Anthony Whyte
Coach: Jerry Moe
Defence Force: 25.Sheldon Clarke; 2.Glynn Franklyn, 4.Dave Long, 7.Jelani Felix (30.Kishon Seecharan 67th), 8.Curtis Gonzales, 13.Marvin Jones, 17.Ross Russell Jr., 18.Sean Narcis (52.Stephen Campbell 46th), 23.Kerry Joseph (9.Devorn Jorsling 46th), 26.Richard Roy, 99.Jerwyn Balthazar
Unused substitutes: 6.Rodell Elcock, 12.Jemel Sebro, 16.Kellon Serette, 80.Aaron Enil (GK)
Coach: Marvin Gordon
Match Referee: Gordon Maloney
Police FC: 18.Adrian Foncette; 5.Anton Hutchinson, 6.Jibri Mc David, 8.Kurdell Brathwaite (2.Jasimar Ashers 90th), 9.Makasi Lewis (39.Keon Wilson 82nd), 11.Shaquille Nesbit (10.Kareem Freitas 70th), 15.Jameel Perry, 19.Christon Thomas, 20.Elijah Belgrave, 21.Todd Ryan (Capt.), 29.Clevon Mc Fee
Unused substitutes: 1.Akeemo Williams (GK), 23.Kevin Joel Lewis, 36.Dylon King, 38.Kadeem Boyce
Coach: Richard Hood
Central FC: 21.Jan-Michael Williams (Capt.); 12.Jamal Jack, 24.Kevon Villaroel, 17.Marcelle Francois, 2.Elton John, 10.Marvin Oliver, 8.Sean De Silva, 22.Leston Paul, 99.Marcus Joseph (33.Willis Plaza 55th), 5.Akeem Benjamin, 7.Jason Marcano (11.Darren Mitchell 70th)
Unused substitutes: 15.Kaydion Gabriel, 6.Kerry Baptiste, 19.Nathaniel Garcia, 26.Mickaeel Gem Gordon
Coach: Ross Russell
Referee: Keilon Bacchus