The clouds and rain resulted in a dull afternoon in some parts. But Defence Force made full use of the bright sunshine in Marabella to confirm their presence in this year’s CONCACAF Caribbean Cup, yesterday.
Brent Sam, Reon Moore and Justin Sadoo gave their side a 3-0 victory over W Connection at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium in round 18 action of the Trinidad and Tobago Premier Football League, thus confirming Defence Force’s spot in CONCACAF Champions League qualifying.
While there are still four rounds to go in the Premier League, the top two in the standings at the end of yesterday’s round of games—AC Port of Spain and Defence Force—will play in the Caribbean Cup, while third-placed Club Sando will enter the second tier CONCACAF Caribbean Club Shield. Both competitions offer teams a way into the CONCACAF Champions League.
Yesterday, current leaders AC Port of Spain (48 points), their place in the Caribbean Cup already clinched, eased to a 4-0 win over cellar-placed Cunupia FC at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar.
However, the “Army” (46 points) had work to do still in order to hold off Club Sando for that second Caribbean Cup spot. At the start of the day, Sando—whose match against Police FC was delayed by a waterlogged ground at the St James Barracks—were just two points behind Defence Force, so a win was necessary for coach Lloyd Andrews’ team against W Connection.
However, Andrews had to play the patience game. There were no goals in a first half which Defence Force controlled. Goalkeeper Christopher Bigette was a spectator all afternoon, without a shot to save as his teammates stroked the ball around with comfort.
However, outside of a sharp right-side cross from Sam that was palmed away by Connection custodian Denzil Smith, and a low drive by Sadoo on the right side of the penalty area that Smith stopped at his near post, Connection were comfortable in the first period.
Sadoo and company could not fashion the penetrating passes to create clear-cut chances and the Army went to the break still waiting for the goal to put them on victory road.
“We didn’t have any intensity at all,” said Defence Force assistant coach Hutson Charles of the first-half effort. “As soon as they did that, we got the results.”
Sam turned up the pressure on Connection very early in the second half. In the second minute after the break (47th), a pin-point cross from the right side found Moore on the left side of the six-yard box. He headed back across goal to strike partner Sam who placed his uncontested header past Smith.
The Connection back door was now unlocked and the Army forced their way through again two minutes later. A Jelani Felix cross from the left flank found Sam who headed the ball into the middle where Dwight Quintero’s point-blank effort was pushed away by Smith, only for Moore to put away the loose ball.
The game as a contest was over. Connection’s holding effort had collapsed and it was just a question of whether Defence Force could add to their tally. They managed one more through Sadoo in the 77th minute, when his angled shot from the right side, coming from a rebound off an initial effort by substitute and new recruit Kaihim Thomas, beat Smith.
Despite the scoreline, the W Connection keeper had had a good afternoon. But he was powerless against the Army’s firepower.
SOURCE: T&T Express