Central FC - The Sharks trashed the idea of an all-servicemen final of the 2018 First Citizens Cup, but did so via a marathon penalty shootout with Police FC to win 7-6 following a 1-1 draw on Friday night.
Marvin Phillip proved one better than his Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeping teammate Adrian Foncette when his second save of the shootout to deny Police winger Kareem Perry in sudden death sent the Couva Sharks into the final against Defence Force FC, who had earlier clobbered Morvant Caledonia United 4-0 in the first game of the semi-final double-header at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Brent Sam scored twice for three-time (2002, 2009 & 2016) champions Defence Force, separated by the half and goal from team captain Jerwyn Balthazar goal, after Hashim Arcia had first put the Tetron Boys in front against the two-time (2011 & 2012) former champions Morvant Caledonia.
But for Central, the 2013 and 2014 champions, booking a place in 2018 final which kicks off from 7pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Friday 20 July required a gritty performance, a handful of yellow cards conceded, a Duane Muckette equaliser, and the heroics of Phillip between the sticks in the deciding penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw.
Police, coached by Richard Hood, had taken the lead through Kareem Freitas after 12 minutes when he put a right side Kareem Perry cross past Phillip, to go level with Defence Force’s Sam on five goals as the 2018 edition’s joint leading scorers.
That lead lasted till the 70th minute when Muckette, free in the heart of the Police penalty area, levelled the Stern John-coached Central with a solid finish past Foncette off a hard-worked Anthony Wolfe cross from the left.
Police, however, tossed victory to the wind when substitute Keion Wilson lifted a low Nequan Caruth cross—which had goal written all over it—over bar from inside the six-yard area and the goal at his mercy in stoppage time.
The Lawmen paid the price of defeat in the deciding penalty shootout although Todd Ryan, Kurdell Brathwaite, Ryan O’Neil, Kareem Freitas, Dexter Alleyne and Wilson were clinical from the spot.
Clevon Mc Fee and Kareem Perry were denied by Central’s Phillip during the marathon kicks while Foncette only managed to deny Muckette.
Kerry Baptiste, Wolfe, Keron Cummings, Akim Armstrong, Taryk Sampson, Dwight Pope and Jared London all hit the back of the target for Central, who face an even bigger challenge against Defence Force in the title match.
The Marvin Gordon-coached Defence Force took a 1-0 lead against Morvant Caledonia in the 29th minute through Arcia, who from inside the right of the box, drilled a low shot past the frame of goalkeeper Terrence Lewis and into the far bottom corner.
Lewis later acrobatically put behind a strike from Sam who had held off two challenges in the box before letting off the left-footed shot.
But Sam celebrated his first on the night three minutes from the break with low drive into Lewis’ far bottom corner. The lanky forward completed his double and his team’s 4-0 win from close up in the 83rd minute after Balthazar had turned in a short feed from substitute Kellon Serrette two minutes earlier.
The win means First Citizens Cup final number 10 for the Army/Coast Guard combination.
First Citizens Cup 2018 Semi-Final Round Results
Defence Force FC 4 (Hashim Arcia 29’, Brent Sam 42’, 83’, Jerwyn Balthazar 81’) vs Morvant Caledonia United 0, at Hasely Crawford Stadium;
Police FC 1 (Kareem Freitas 12’) vs Central FC 1 (Duane Muckette 70’), at Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Central won 7-6 on penalties
Central FC 7 v Police FC 6
Kerry Baptiste (scored) - Todd Ryan (scored)
Anthony Wolfe (scored) - Kerdell Brathwaite (scored)
Keron Cummings (scored) - Ryan O’Neil (scored)
Akim Armstrong (scored) - Clevon Mc Fee (saved)
Duane Muckette (saved) - Kareem Freitas (scored)
Taryk Sampson (scored) - Dexter Alleyne (scored)
Dwight Pope (scored) - Keion Wilson (scored)
Jared London (scored) - Kareem Perry (saved)
First Citizens Cup Final
(Friday 20 July 2018)
Defence Force FC vs Central FC, 7pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Defence Force FC: 25.Sheldon Clarke (GK); 4.Dave Long (20.Levi Serries 69th minute), 5.Jerome Mc Intyre, 6.Rodell Elcock, 8.Brent Sam, 9.Devorn Jorsling (16.Kellon Serrette 78th minute), 10.Hashim Arcia, 17.Curtis Gonzales, 21.Aklie Edwards, 45.Dylon King (18.Reon Moore 56th minute), 99.Jerwyn Balthazar (Capt.).
Unused substitutes: 1.Andre Marchan (GK); 11.Dwight Quintero, 12.Jemel Sebro, 32.Jameel Cooper.
Coach: Marvin Gordon
Morvant Caledonia United: 1.Terrence Lewis (GK); 3.Richard Williams, 5.Joshua Sylvester, 9.Sedale Mc Lean (26.Jair Edwards 61st minute), 11.Quincy Ballah (10.Sheldon Holder 70th minute), 12.Kareem Joseph (Capt.), 15.Malik Mieres, 16.Travell Edwards (22.Joshua Alexander 46th minute), 17.Kerry Daniel, 19.Renaldo Francois, 28.Jomokie Cassimy.
Unused substitutes: 30.Dejourn Charles (GK); 23.Osaze Springer, 25.Joshua Martin.
Coach: Jerry Moe
Referee: Crystal Sobers
Police FC: 18.Adrian Foncette (GK) (Capt.), 3.Ryan O’Neil, 5.Kenaz Williams, 7.Kareem Perry (32.Keion Wilson 80th minute), 8.Kurdell Brathwaite, 9.Jameel Perry, 10.Kareem Perry, 12.Nequan Caruth, 15.Christian Thomas (17.Dexter Alleyne 60th minute), 21.Todd Ryan, 29.Clevon Mc Fee.
Unused substitutes: 22.Theon Browne (GK); 4.Kadeem Boyce, 23.Shakuile Williams, 25.Kaashif Thomas, 38.Mekesi Lewis.
Coach: Richard Hood
Central FC: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK); 5.Dwight Pope, 8.Akim Armstrong, 12.Taryk Sampson, 13.Rhondel Gibson (26.Dominic Douglas 75th minute), 15.Kaydion Gabriel (29.Kerry Baptiste 93rd minute), 17.Anthony Wolfe, 18.Densill Theobald (Capt.) (10.Keron Cummings 44th minute), 22.Jameel Neptune, 19.Jared London, 24.Duane Muckette.
Unused substitutes: 27.Anthony Charles.
Coach: Stern John
Referee: Rodphin Harris