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24
Sat, Aug

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Aklie Edwards heads Army into First Citizen Cup final.Aklie Edwards precisely headed a Devon Jorsling corner kick at the back post to give Defence Force the only goal in their First Citizens Cup semi-final clash with rivals Ma Pau on Friday night at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya.

Then, following Jorsling's lead, the Army players moved in unison to the half-line where they held aloft the number 11 jersey of injured teammate Kevon Carter.

It was a pre-arranged gesture honouring Carter, the speedy Defence Force and Trinidad and Tobago midfielder who suffered a broken leg against St Ann's Rangers at the quarter-final stage of the First Citizens Cup and is now out of the game for the next six months.

Next Saturday, Defence Force will defend the First Citizens Cup against Joe Public, who won Friday's second semi-final.

The Eastern Lions rallied from a goal down to beat six-time champions W Connection 3-1 with a well-taken late goal from Japanese midfielder Yu Hoshide.

Colombian defender Gilmer Aris had W Connection ahead in the 15th minute when heading a corner from fellow Colombian Christian Viveros to the far side of the net.

But, striker Kerry Baptiste managed to spin on two defenders and set up Trent Noel, who brought Joe Public level at 1-1 on the half-hour mark with a shot from close up.

Hoshide then put a simple but impressive finish onto Hayden Tinto's cross, curling the ball first-time to the far corner in the 81st minute to give the Eastern Lions victory.

Before that, Noel twice went close to scoring from free-kicks. And Joe Public keeper Marvin Phillip also brought off three consecutive saves to stop W Connection in the 50th.

Later Antiguan Gayson Gregory missed the Joe Public goal from ten metres and when Phillip dropped a too-hot-to-handle long-range shot from Kerron Cummings in the 72nd, W Connection's Brazilian striker Paulo Roberto Santana failed to score from the rebound.

But Hoshide was clinical when given the chance to put Joe Public ahead.

There was more heated hype from coaches Michael McComie (Ma Pau) and Ross Russell (Defence Force) in the build-up to the opening semi-final.

But Ma Pau and Defence Force failed to reproduce the June 11 league meeting between the two Pro League clubs, a thriller which Defence Force won 2-1.

On Friday, Defence Force did just enough to get the winning goal and while Ma Pau brought their usual "hustle", they lacked the craft to break down the Army stronghold.

Indeed, rigid football was the order of the night in both semi-final matches. But Defence Force produced a fluent knock in the 22nd minute which would have been long remembered had Christian Baptiste's first-time shot gone in.

Earlier, the Army nearly had a goal scored for them in the 16th by big Ma Pau central defender Keyeno Thomas, who almost put the ball past his keeper Shane Mattis when attempting to intercept a deep Corey Rivers punt into the penalty area.

But it was a good finish which gave Defence Force the lead in the 34th.

Edwards, the left back who attacks superbly but does not always defend as decisively, showed his prowess up front when heading in Jorsling's corner.

Ma Pau had an early second half chance to get level, but defender Rondell Elcock got an important toe between the ball and striker Shane Calderon.

The Army had the better moments later on. First, midfielder Kerry Joseph rolled the ball wide under a challenge from the Ma Pau goalkeeper. And a one-two combo with Jorsling also set up a stinging shot for midfielder Richard Roy. Keeper Mattis had two attempts to stop it before only just keeping the ball out of his net.

Teams

Joe Public: Marvin Phillip; Makan Hislop, Carlyle Mitchell, Jason Springer, Jevon Morris; Kareem Young (Marcus Joseph 77th), Gason Gregory (Micah Lewis 77th), Hayden Tinto, Trent Noel, Andre Toussaint (Yu Hoshide 55th); Kerry Baptiste (capt).

W Connection: Murilo Da Costa; Elijah Joseph (capt), Eder Gilmar Arias, Joevin Jones, Nickcolson Thomas; Gerard Williams, Christian Viveros, Andrei Pacheco (Keron Cummings 71st), Francisco Neto (Clyde Leon 30th); Teba McKnight (Paulo Santana 71st), Matthew Bartholomew.

Defence Force—Kevin Graham, Corey Rivers (capt), Devon Jorsling (Yellow), Richard Roy, Christon Baptiste (Michael Edwards 72nd), Devin Jordan, Sean Narcis (Kurt Williams 78th), Dexter Pacheco, Rondell Elcock, Aklie Edwards, Marvin Jones (Kerry Joseph 67th).

Coach—Ross Russell.

Ma Pau SC—Shane Mattis, Curtis Gonzales (capt), Lester Peltier (Coneal Thomas 46th), Elton John, Kerry Noray, Kevin Molino (Trevin Caesar 67th), Dwayne James, Cyd Gray, Keyeno Thomas, Seon Power, Shane Calderon (Lyndon Andrews 78th).

Coach—Michael McComie.