St Ann’s Rangers booked the last of the semi-final spots in the Toyota Classic competition with a hard-fought 8-7 triumph, courtesy kicks-from-the-penalty-spot, over 1976 FC Phoenix at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva yesterday.
After eliminating the remaining Bmobile National Super League team from contention, Rangers joined Digicel Pro League squads Joe Public, Ma Pau and reigning champs San Juan Jabloteh in tomorrow’s “semis”. Joe Public is due to meet Ma Pau while Jabloteh will oppose Rangers.
At Couva, Phoenix and Rangers were locked at 2-2 at the end of regulation time, but Rangers, the 2008 runners-up, held firm in the penalties to get the better of a plucky Phoenix outfit.
In the shootout – Kevin Keith, Shelton Williams, Junior Roberts, Dave Grimshaw, goalkeeper Jeffrey Delpeche, Darren Mitchell and Simon Nedd converted their efforts for Phoenix, who kicked first, while Josimar Belgrave, Adrian Narine, Corneal Thomas, Devon Modeste, Jovica Bristol, Husani Thomas and Elijah Belgrave replied for Rangers.
With the scores locked at 7-7, Phoenix’s striker Lejandro Williams saw his right-footer saved by Javan Seegobin, diving to his right.
Needing to score to seal victory for Rangers, Jared Williams duly obliged, placing his right-footer past Delpeche’s outstretched right-hand.
Grimshaw had broken the deadlock between both teams with a 21st minute item before Josimar Belgrave knotted up the scores in first half stoppage-time, sending Delpeche to his right from the penalty spot after referee Shane De Silva ruled that Nedd had impeded on Modeste’s run down the left.
Corneal Thomas, who replaced his brother Christon in the 55th minute, gave Rangers the go-ahead goal in the 61st, directing Josimar Belgrave’s right-sided centre home, via Delpeche’s legs.
But Phoenix fought back to tie the scores in the 88th courtesy Shelton Williams who, on the left, moved past Bristol and drilled his left-footer beyond Seegobin’s left hand.
Rangers had the last laugh however, in the penalty kicks, to keep their hopes of making the November 13 final alive.