Caledonia AIA survived a shot off the post in the second half and settled for a 0-0 draw with Marathon on Wednesday for its first point in the CONCACAF Champions League.
The result left both with one point, two behind the Seattle Sounders in Group 4. Caledonia has played two of its four group matches while Seattle and Marathon have played one each.
In a match with few quality chances until late in the second half, Mitchell Brown - who scored three goals in Saturday's 3-2 win over Real Espana, Marathon's first victory of the season - had the best opportunity of the night. He reacted to a deflected ball quickly and dived to put a header off the right post in the 58th minute.
Caledonia also had its best chances in the second half, twice in the first five minutes on plays that developed off the left side. Walter Moore ran onto a diagonal ball from the top of the defensive third, touched it into the area but pulled his left-footed effort wide of the far post in the 48th.
Two-and-a-half minutes later, Trevin Caesar similarly had a touch just inside the area before sending his drive wide of the left post.
Kerlon Ferguson came even closer in the 74th, volleying a cross from the middle of the area and sending it wide of the left post by centimeters.Caledonia had three more chances, two by Cornelious Stewart and one by Conrad Smith that went just high or wide.
The match was the first for Marathon's new manager Manuel Koesseian, who was announced on Friday as the replacement for Ramon Maradiaga.
Maradiaga was replaced after Marathon lost the first four matches of the Honduran Apertura season and even with Saturday's win is last in the league standings.
Conversely, Caledonia is two-and-a-half weeks from start of TT Pro League season.
Caledonia played without Trinidad international midfielder Densill Theobald, who reportedly has returned to the club for a fifth time but is awaiting paperwork to become eligible. He is expected for next week's home match against Seattle.
For Marathon, Honduran Olympic keeper Jose Mendoza, who played in all four games in London, made his second start of season and first since a 4-0 loss to Olimpia on August 12.
VIDEO: - Highlights
Caledonia: - 33 Glenroy Samuel (Yellow 10); 29 Radanfah Abu Bakr, 2 Aubrey David, 3 Nuru Muhammad, 15 Walter Moore, 12 Kareem Joseph (10 Conrad Smith 78th - Yellow 90), 7 Stephen David, 11 Abdallah Phillips (8 Cornelius Stewart 60th), 9 Keyon Edwards (Yellow 60), 23 Jamal Gay, 6 Trevin Caesar (19 Kerlon Ferguson 60th).
Coach: - Jamaal Shabazz (Trinidad & Tobago).
Marathon: - 27 José Mendoza; 23 Mauricio Sabillón, 20 Mario Beata, 22 Quiarol Arzú, 19 Mario Berrios, 12 Mariano Acevedo, 6 David Meza, 17 Wilmer Fuentes (10 Michel Rivera 62nd), 33 Glen Brown, 9 Rony Flores (18 Harrison Róchez 70th), 11 Randy Diamond (24 Oscar Durón 81st).
Coach: - Manuel Keosseian (Uruguay).
Referee: - Stanley Lancaster (Guyana).
P W T L F A P
Seattle Sounders 1 1 0 0 3 1 3
CD Marathon 1 0 1 0 0 0 1
Caledonia AIA 2 0 1 1 1 3 1
Caledonia AIA Vs. Marathon, 2012 CONCACAF Champions League: Final Score 0-0, Zzzzzzzzz
By Graham MacAree (sbnation.com)
Well, that wasn't exactly the prettiest game of football ever played. Caledonia AIA played Marathon in a CONCACAF Champions League group stage match in Trinidad and Tobago, and it's fair to say that neither team set the world on fire in their 0-0 draw.
The visitors were by and large the better side early on, creating a number of chances, but to say that they lacked a cutting edge would be doing a grave disservice to blunt objects around the world.
Not even Caledonia goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel's ill-judged forays to the outskirts of the pitch resulted in a goal, although they were at least rather funny -- at one point he was booked for a tackle on Mitchell Brown at the corner flag.
The closest Marathon came to scoring turned out to be via the head of Brown, who along with Randy Diamond was one of the brighter players on the pitch. In the second half, Brown stumbled in the box while looking to shoot, but bounced back up onto his feet in time to receive a cross and smack the subsequent header off the goalpost.
The hosts got into the match towards the end of the ninety minutes, taking advantage of Marathon's habit of pushing black shirts upfield and launching several counterattacks.
They ended very well, with Conrad Smith and Cornelius Stewart peppering Jose Mendoza's goal in the final few minutes. Ultimately, however, it wasn't enough for the win, and it's Marathon who'll be slightly happier about getting the draw on the road.
Caledonia had it all, ok not quite, against visiting CD Marathón of Honduras on Wednesday night at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Concacaf Champions’ League group four action which ended 0-0.
The 2012 CFU Club Champion, Caledonia, dominated chances against the Central Americans but failed to find the back of the net. While Marathón’s only real effort was closest hitting the upright in the second period.
“I’m disappointed in the result,” said Caledonia defender Radanfah Abu Bakr following the match. “I think its two points dropped.”
Technical Director Jamaal Shabazz also disappointed with the result said, “We created enough chances to seal it in the first half and the second half.
I thought we deserved to have three points but we still have one point and we have Seattle to (visit us). It’s not a great feeling, but it’s better than not having any point. I thought that we deserved to walk away with three points.”
Shabazz responded to the question of poor finishing by explaining, “It’s not an overnight solution. The coach or the player who can solve all the goal scoring problems in the world would be the richest man. It is the problem in world football, but we continue to work and work on the composure in front of goal.
I thought today we had a little more time than we thought we had [in front of goal]. And composure is about knowing how much time and how much space you have. This is the area we want to isolate and work on some more.”
On the flipside, the goalless result picked up some praise from Shabazz.
He added, “We know there is always the question of Trinidad and Tobago teams’ belief coming into a Concacaf tournament but I thought today we showed that we are not any distance away from these teams. With a little more belief, fitness and a lot more organization, I think we are still in with a chance.”
Caledonia remains with just one point from two matches—a 3-1 defeat against Seattle Sounders on August 2 and Wednesday’s 0-0 against Marathón. Sounders which visits Caledonia on August 30 leads group four with 3 points, and Marathón sits with 1 point and three games in hand.
Marathón head coach Manuel Keosseian serving in only his first match on Wednesday night since taking over from Ramon Maradiaga said, through a translator, “I do not like the result at all.”
He said his team just won its first domestic league match over the week and expected a better result.
Commenting on the game, Keosseian said all he knew of (Caledonia) before was what he watched on tapes. He added, “It was a very interesting game, very tight and equal. A very good game with possibilities of goals on either side of the pitch and he thinks it was a great match.”