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Defence Force's Kaihim Thomas (left) challenges Golden Lion's Norman Grelet (#8) during a Caribbean Cup match at Stade-Pierre Aliker, Fort-de-France, Martinique on Wednesday, August 30th 2023.
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T&T international Reon Moore scored the lone goal and his second in as many matches to earn T&T Premier League double crown champions Defence Force a 1-0 win over Concacaf Club Shield runner-up Golden Lion of Martinique at the Stade Pierre-Aliker Stadium, Fort De France, on Wednesday night.

The scorer of his team’s goal in their tournament-opening 1-1 draw with Jamaica’s Cavalier FC at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, a week ago, Moore scored three minutes into the second half to hand the two-time Concacaf Champions Cup winners in 1978 and 1985 the lead.

However, the Army/Coast-Guard combination, also winners of the 2001 CFU Club Championship, then suffered a setback eight minutes later when former Rivaldo Coryat had to be replaced by his brother Nathaniel Garcia due to injury.

With less than ten minutes to go in regulation time, the visitors introduced fresh legs in Isaiah Garcia, and Jameel Cooper, at the expense of the injured Cassim Keller, and midfielder Justin Sadoo to boost his team’s defensive effort while Shaquille Holder came in for striker Brent Sam with two minutes left.

The host also went to its bench twice, first with Jordy Boriel being replaced by Kirane Gracien in the 72nd, and Kenterly Faucher, scorer of four goals in the Club Shield a late introduction for Thierry Catherine as they pushed for the equaliser.

In the end, Defence Force, the T&T record domestic champions secured the win for their first in two matches to improve to four points at the top of the five-club table, one ahead of Moca FC who edged T&T’s AC Port-of-Spain 1-0 in their opener on Friday last while Golden Lion stayed bottom of the table without a point.

The T&T champions will next be in action on September 28 against fellow local club, AC Port-of-Spain, the T&T PFL runners-up, who come up against Cavalier FC at the historic Sabina Park Stadium venue from 6.06 pm today in their second match in the pool.

AC Port-of-Spain qualified for the tournament by being the first team on the T&TPFL standings at the stipulated cut-off point for the T&T Premier Football League ahead of fellow qualifier, and eventual league champions Defence Force, and Tiger Tanks Club Sando, which contested the Club Shield competition, but missed out on qualification to this tourney after a semifinal loss, and in the process missed a chance to qualify for the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup.

Cavalier FC won the 2021 Jamaican National Premier League championship and qualified as the third-place team in their domestic league in 2022.

The Jamaicans, who will be facing their second straight opponent from T&T after a 1-1 draw away to Defence Force at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, on Thursday night, appeared in the 2022 Concacaf Caribbean Club Championship and will aim for a deeper run in this new Caribbean competition in 2023.

The regional cup is part of the Confederation’s new men’s club ecosystem, which also includes regional cups in North America and Central America, all leading to a revamped 27-club Concacaf Champions Cup (replacing the Concacaf Champions League).

After round-robin play, where each club plays every other club in their group once, two matches at home and two matches away, the first and second-place finishers advance to the knockout stage.

The knockout stage comprises home and away semifinals, third place, and final. After the Caribbean Cup, the Champion qualifies for the Concacaf Champions Cup round of 16, while the runners-up and third-place finisher for round one.