First Citizens Cup semi-final opponents Club Sando and W Connection battled to a 1-1 draw in one of three rescheduled Pro League 2017 Round Two matches contested on Tuesday afternoon.
Connection looked to have been on their way to guaranteeing themselves a confidence booster against the Oranges ahead of Friday’s semi-finals when on 15 minutes at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Dimitri Apai fired in a rebound past Sando goalkeeper Kelvin Henry, who had done well to get glove to a Neil Benjamin strike, only to parry the shot as far as the Suriname international forward.
Ironically, Apai’s only other league goal this season was an opening item in a 3-1 win over Sando when both sides met on Jun. 23 in Round One and included a double from Benjamin.
This time around, on the heels of a semi-final clash, Armstrong pulled Sando level from the penalty spot, beating goalkeeper Julani Archibald after Connection midfielder Jameel Antoine’s pull on an orange shirt on the half hour mark in the box caught attention of referee Michael London.
One-all it stayed at the final whistle in Marabella, setting the stage for an intriguing semi-final clash on Friday between Connection, the record seven-time former First Citizens Cup champions, and Sando, a side seeking to improve on last season, from 8pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium after underdogs Point Fortin Civic tackle holders Defence Force from 6pm in semi-final one.
But by dropping points for the first time after three consecutive league wins, second-positioned Connection (24 points) sit three points adrift of Pro League leaders North East Stars (27 points) with six league games left in the truncated (two-round) season.
Sando (19 points), now winless in their last three league outings, continue to occupy third, ahead of Morvant Caledonia United (16 points) and Defence Force (15 points) in fourth and fifth respectively.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, Central FC, last season’s three-peat Pro League champions, snapped a seven-game winless run in the league with a 3-1 win over sixth-placed San Juan Jabloteh at the Barataria Oval.
Mickaeel Jem Gordon scored twice for Central, interrupted by the break and a second-half Kadeem Hutchinson goal for Jabloteh, all after Couva Sharks’ midfielder Sean De Silva opened the scoring with his fourth league goal of the term.
Central, though, occupy seventh on the league standings with 13 points, one point ahead of Jabloteh, and two points ahead of Police FC, the eight-positioned team which held MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers to a 2-2 draw in another rescheduled fixture on Tuesday.
Kareem Freitas scored his second league goal this term three minutes from time to level Police a second time against Rangers at St. Augustine Secondary School Ground. Micah Lansiquot had restored Rangers lead in the second half after Todd Ryan levelled Rangers’ opening item scored by Kathon St. Hillaire.
Rangers (9 points), with the point earned, moved off the bottom, but only swapping spots with Point Fortin Civic for ninth with more goals scored.
(Tuesday 17 October 2017)
Rescheduled Round Two Match Day Three fixtures
Club Sando 1 (Akim Armstrong 31’ pen.) vs W Connection 1 (Dimitri Apai 15’), at Mannie Ramjohn Stadium;
St. Ann’s Rangers 2 (Kathon St. Hillaire 27’, Micah Lansiquot 72’) vs Police FC 2 (Todd Ryan 53’, Kareem Freitas 87’), at St. Augustine Secondary;
Rescheduled Round Two Match Day One fixture
San Juan Jabloteh 1 (Kadeem Hutchinson 64’) vs Central FC 3 (Sean De Silva 35’, Mickaeel Jem Gordon 41’, 83’), at Barataria Oval.
Club Sando: 34.Kelvin Henry (GK); 6.Kemuel Rivers, 10.Keron Cornwall, 11.Akim Armstrong (35.Adan Noel 78th minute), 12.Michael Basdeo, 15.Keyon Edwards (9.Akeem Redhead 85th minute), 16.Jared London (Capt.) (Yellow Card), 18.Trevin Latapy, 23.Nicholas Thomas (Yellow Card), 27.Jason Joseph, 38.Josiah Trimmingham.
Unused substitutes: 1.Stefan Berkeley (GK); 13.Tyrone Charles, 21.Malique Quow, 40.Anthony Herbert.
W Connection: 18.Julani Archibald (GK); 2.Frank Padilla Gil, 3.Gerard Williams (Capt.) (Yellow Card), 4.Maurice Ford, 7.Neil Benjamin Jr, 10.Dimitri Apai, 14.Euller Eduardo Couto, 16.Alvin Jones (Yellow Card), 19.Briel Thomas, 24.Jameel Antoine (Yellow Card) (20.Daniel Diaz 54th minute), 26.Isaiah Garcia.
Unused substitutes: 33.Jason Belfon (GK); 11.Malik St. Prix, 21.Ronell Paul, 30.Shaquille John.
Referee: Michael London