ATO BOLDON STADIUM, Couva—W Connection enjoyed a second half goal-feast on Friday night after coming from behind early in the game to trash Guadeloupe outfit Club Sportif Moulien 5-1.
The two-time Caribbean champions and last season’s runners-up W Connection (6 points) are at the top of Group One and one point away from securing a semi-final spot in the 2016 Caribbean Club Championship, while setting up a virtual final against Suriname powerhouse Inter Moengo Tapoe on the final day (Sunday) from 6:30 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
Inter are also on 6 points but with a +2 goal-difference the Suriname team are second behind Connection (+5).
Inter, 3-2 winners over Moulien on Wednesday, had earlier edged Dominican Republic outfit Atlantico FC 1-0 courtesy a 31st minute scorcher from midfielder Gregory Pokie.
Despite end-to-end action, a depleted Atlantico, without defenders Nelson Benitez and Mateo Zazo who were red carded along with Connection forward Shahdon Winchester during the Savonetta Boys 4-2 win on Wednesday, failed to peg an equaliser, let alone a win.
Winger Leinner Perez created Atlantico’s best chance four minutes into the second period after dribbling past four Inter shirts in the area, but his effort crashed off a teammate with the right of Inter goalkeeper Tim Pallak exposed.
Inter’s midfielder and captain Cristian Casseres later preserved his side’s slim advantage in the fifth of eight stoppage-time minutes when he cleared midfielder Kerbi Rodriguez strike off the line.
Casseres and his teammates, including former W Connection striker Stefano Rijssel, will need nothing less than a win over Savonetta Boys on Sunday if they are to top the home-side for the Caribbean Club Championship semi-finals spot.
Connection, like their opening game on Wednesday against Atlantico, had to come from behind against Moulien and didn’t seem to mind.
“The game was still young,” said star Connection midfielder Jomal Williams after the game. “Although we went down a goal early it didn’t stop us from playing together as one and eventually we got a hold of the game and the goals started coming.
“It turned out a great game for us. We outclassed them (Moulien) by far.”
Richardson Petit had put Moulien 1-0 ahead after just three minutes. Petit fired past goalkeeper Julani Archibald off a cross from left winger Krismiller Bolmin, who linked with midfielder Sebastien Lobry for a quick exchange to make light work of Connection defender Daneil Cyrus.
But Jamal Charles, coming off his first ever goals for Connection – a game-winning double against Atlantico – levelled coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier’s men 1-1 on 7 minutes.
Charles, starting in absence of the suspended Winchester, was excellent in heading past Moulien goalkeeper Jordan Sennoaj at the back post off an Alvin Jones corner.
The Grenadian teenager had an excellent opening for his fourth goal of the tournament on 20 minutes but fluffed the effort with goalkeeper Sennoaj at his mercy.
Seconds later Charles miscued from the centre of the area following an attacking move involving Hughtun Hector and Jomal as Connection began to take control of the game.
However it was not until the 53rd minute that Connection took a 2-1 lead through Jomal who fired past Sennoaj for his third goal of the tournament in a raid on the visitors area.
Sennoaj, who made a number of saves in the first half including a superb one-handed shutout to deny Jomal, was unable to avoid the second half massacre.
Connection’s Surinamese forward Apai made it 3-1 in extraordinary fashion in the 67th minute by diving in to direct, off his chest, a left side Kurt Frederick cross past Sennoaj.
Three minutes later Connection were celebrating a 4-1 lead when captain Alvin Jones converted from the penalty spot after Jomal was brought down in the area by defender Cedric Vamur.
Connection completed the 5-1 scoring in the first minute of stoppage-time with substitute Malik St. Prix poking past Sennoaj from close-up to redeem himself after heading wide off a Frederick cross.
Fullback Frederick, who terrorised Moulien for the most of the second half with his runs, brilliant first touch, and crossing from the left, was denied a goal in stoppage-time by the Moulien goalie.
“The level of our performance was really good,” added the 21-year-old Jomal. “The tournament is coming along pretty well for us in getting the results we wanted from our first two games.
“We will have the same concentration going into the game against Inter Moengo Tapoe on Sunday. We know a draw will take us through but we want a win in securing the top spot,” ended the Connection midfielder.
Atlantico FC 0 vs Inter Moengo Tapoe 1 (Gregory Pokie 31’)
W Connection 4 (Jamal Charles 7’, Jomal Williams 53’, Dimitrie Apai 67’, Alvin Jones 70’ penalty) vs Club Sportif Moulien 1 (Richardson Petit 3’)
W Connection: 18.Julani Archibald; 2.Kurt Frederick, 3.Gerard Williams, 5.Triston Hodge, 8.Briel Thomas (14.Andre Toussaint 46th minute), 10.Jomal Williams (43.Malik St. Prix 75th minute), 12.Dimitrie Apai, 13.Hughtun Hector, 16.Alvin Jones (Capt.), 20.Jamal Charles (34.Jabari Mitchell 77th minute), 25.Daneil Cyrus
Unused substitutes: 1.Terrence Lewis (GK), 4.Maurice Ford, 35.Keston Julien, 46.Anfernee Frederick, 26.Paolo De La Guardia Alvarez
Coach: Stuart Charles-Fevrier
Club Sportif Moulien: 16.Jordan Sennoaj; 2.Kevin Roussas, 3.Cedric Vamur, 5.Jeremie Valmy (4.Felix Siar 77th minute), 6.Willis Francillonne, 8.Fabien Beral, 7.Krismiller Bolmin (15.Henry Lubin 72nd minute), 10.Sebastien Lobry, 12.Kevin Lumon, 11.Stephane Amadiah (13.Yohann Magen), 17.Richardson Petit
Unused substitutes: 9.Meddy Viardot, 18.Luther Galas, 19.Remy Alcime, 30.Kevin Ajax (GK), 20.Yannis Zabarel
Coach: Richard Albert
Referee: Swason Owen (CAY)