Caribbean powerhouse W Connection could join leaders North East Stars at next season’s CONCACAF qualifiers by way of the Caribbean Club Championship having virtually secured a top-two finish in the 2017 Pro League with a 3-1 victory over former champions Central FC last night.
But with Connection (33 points) four points adrift of the Pro League leaders and just two matches left, North East Stars (37 points) can lift the PL crown for the first time since 2004 on the penultimate day (Friday) with a win against Police FC who they must tackle from 6pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
Connection, two hours later (8pm), will clash against third-positioned Defence Force (27 points) who, not only trail the Savonetta Boys by six points but also by a far lesser goal-difference.
Only if the Stars – a side undefeated in their last nine league outings – lose their remaining matches against Police and San Juan Jabloteh and Connection post wins against Defence Force and Morvant Caledonia, can the Savonetta Boys miraculously hurdle Derek King’s side for the 2017 crown.
Neil Benjamin Jr., the Golden Boot frontrunner, scored his 11th league goal and sixteenth in all competitions this season after Marcus Joseph opened the scoring in the second half, and St. Lucian forward Shirvone Malik St. Prix completed the win in stoppage-time to earn to keep Connection’s narrow mathematical league chance alive and advantage ahead of Defence Force for a top-two finish.
Connection, the multiple-time former Caribbean champions, once secured, will return to CONCACAF qualifying after failing to qualify for the 2017 Caribbean Club Championship while North East Stars are expected to debut on the international stage having forfeited their place at the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship after winning their maiden Pro League crown.
Also yesterday, Jabloteh snapped a four-game losing spell to climb three spots to occupy fifth on the Pro League standings after holding off Police FC in a seven-goal thriller with a 4-3 win at Barataria Oval.
Sean Bonval (19’), Dominic Douglas (39’), Keron Bethelmy (86’) and Kadeem Hutchinson (90’) each put their names on the scoresheet for Jabloteh while defender Ryan O’Neil (52’, 90’+2) scored twice and Elijah Belgrave (88’) once in the Lawmen’s attempt to turn the game around in the second half.
San Juan Jabloteh 4 (Sean Bonval 19’, Dominic Douglas 39’, Keron Bethelmy 86’, Kadeem Hutchinson 90’) vs Police FC 3 (Ryan O’Neil 52’, 90’+2’, Elijah Belgrave 88’), at Barataria Oval;
Central FC 1 (Jiron Francis 85’) vs W Connection 3 (Marcus Joseph 49’, Neil Benjamin Jr. 81’, Shirvone Malick St. Prix 90’+4), at Ato Boldon Stadium.