Former winners, Defence Force and Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA will contest the T&T Football Federation FA Trophy final on Sunday at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar after narrow semifinal victories over WASA (Super League) and W Connection on Sunday last.
In the first final-four clash at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella, six-time winners and reigning Digicel T&T Pro League champions, Defence Force held on for a 3-2 triumph over 2004 winner and the lone surviving Super League club, WASA aftertaking a 2-0 lead.
The Teteron Boys coming off a 5-0 thrashing of St Francois Nationals in its quarterfinal encounter earlier in the month and a disappointing 0-0 draw with Police in the Digicel Pro League on Friday stormed, into a comfortable 2-0 lead before the interval via strikes from Josimar Belgrave (17th) and Sean Narcis (38th) minutes.
However, on the resumption, WASA came out a rejuvenated unit and clawed its way back into the contest with a 50th minute strike from former national youth player Michael-Lee Celestine.
But Jemel Sebro then restored Defence Force’s two-goal cushion with his team’s third item six minutes later, only for Celestine to pull his team to within a goal of its Pro League opponents, within two minutes to set up an interesting finish.
Despite a few chances at both ends of the field, there were no further goals as the Keston Williams-marshalled Defence Force back-line held on for the narrow win to go after a seventh FA triumph against its Pro League rivals on Sunday from 5 pm.
In the night’s second match, an all-Pro League guel between 2008 winner Caledonia and W Connection, FA champions in 1999, 2000 and 2002, midfielder Ataullah Guerra netted the lone goal in the 35th minute for the “Morvant/Laventille Stallions” to emerge victorious.
Boths teams went into the clash minus a combined nine players due to national Under-23 (Olympic team) duties in the USA, while Caledonia was also without leading striker Devorn Jorsling following his red card in the quarterfinal 2-0 win over bmobile Joe Public.
Away on Under-23 duty for Caledonia were Trevin Caesar, Jamal Gay, Micah Lewis, Nuru Abdullah Mohammad and Aquil Selby while W Connection’s Joevin Jones, Shahdon Winchester, Jomal Williams and Leslie Joel Russell also missed out.
The winners of Sunday’s final will collect $60,000 and 23 gold medals in addition to the prestigious FA trophy while second gets $40,000 and 23 silver medals.
Results (Sunday’s T&TFA semifinal)
Defence Force 3 (Josimar Belgrave 17, Sean Narcis 38, Jemel Sebro 56) v WASA 2 (Michael-Lee Celestine 50, 58).
Caledonia 1 (Ataullah Guerra 35) vs W Connection.