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AC Port of Spain's Jamal Charles (right) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Club Sando during their T&T Premier Football League match at Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar on Saturday, May 11th 2024.

THE “Capital Boys”, AC Port of Spain, will again enter the final day of the local professional football league with the lead and destiny in their own hands.

But will they blow it on the final day, as they did last season, when beaten by Defence Force and losing both the lead and the 2023 title?

Yesterday, the “Capital Boys” took pole position as they leapfrogged previous leaders Police FC, following an emphatic 3-0 victory over Tiger Tanks Club Sando.

Club Sando will end the 2024 season in fourth spot, one place lower than a year ago, despite losing two national players, Real Gill going overseas and Alvin Jones moving to Police FC.

AC Port of Spain now sit in the lead on 41 points—from 19 matches—with one match left, away to Heritage Petroleum Point Fortin Civic. Former leaders Miscellaneous Police FC (39 points) are second, with a final match against winless Central FC, while champions Defence Force (37 points) are third and face Cunupia Eagles on the final match day.

AC Port of Spain, Police and Defence Force have now qualified to represent Trinidad and Tobago in Caribbean competition.

Yesterday, a tight first half saw no goals, either team creating just one scoring chance apiece. But it was a different story in the second period, when former national winger Nathan Lewis came on as a substitute and strongly influenced the flow of the match.

Jamal Charles, the striker who is likely to run out for Grenada against Trinidad and Tobago in World Cup qualifying next month, netted twice—in the 48th and 56th minutes. And another substitute, Che Benny, put the icing on the cake three minutes into added-on time, spotting goalkeeper Denzil Smith off his line and beating him with a long-range “dipper”.

AC PoS still have to navigate a dangerous final match day next Sunday, when they travel to Mahaica Oval for a difficult meeting against Civic, a side with in-form Ezekiel Kesar and veteran Marvin Joseph, both proven goal-scorers.

Yesterday, there was an early scare for AC Port of Spain when Shervonez Hamilton’s powerful strike struck the post, his low shot beating keeper Marvin Phillip at the near post, but coming off the woodwork.

Club Sando generally went the direct route of finding point man Shackiel Henry with the long ball, and while AC PoS dominated possession, they hardly looked like scoring until first-half injury time, when a diving goalie Denzil Smith turned away a low, cross-goal shot from Charles, which was headed to the far corner.

The “Capital Boys” came out explosive and were ahead when Charles headed in John-Paul Rochford’s free kick. Then when Lewis entered the game he had the Club Sando defenders dancing in all directions, and delivered a cross, which Charles put in after running free between defenders.

Having had little work in the first half, custodian Smith was suddenly under siege, and having to fend off Duane Muckette’s powerful shot, before Lewis also struck the upright with a low shot, having eluded both his marker and the goalkeeper’s low dive. But there was nothing Smith could have done as Benny’s rocket sailed over his head and into the top of the net.

SOURCE: T&T Express