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AC Port of Spain celebrate winning the 2023/24 T&T Premier Football League Tier One title after defeating Point Fortin Civic FC 3-0 at Mahican Oval, Point Fortin on Sunday, May 19th 2024.

Last year, the title got away from Athletic Club Port of Spain (AC PoS). Not this season.

Yesterday the “Capital Boyz” wiped away last season’s final day heartbreaking, title-losing defeat to Defence Force, by winning their last match this season and thus sealing a first national league title.

AC PoS left nothing to chance as they went to Mahaica in the deep south and shut out Heritage Petroleum Point Fortin Civic 3-0 to ensure they did not allow second-placed Miscellaneous Police the chance to snatch the coveted Trinidad and Tobago Professional Football League (TTPFL) crown away.

Police beat Central F C 1-0 at their Ken Cooke, St James Barracks ground. But neither the fact of the three points nor the slender size of the victory was sufficient to upset the AC apple cart yesterday.

“The feeling right now is a joyous feeling,” AC PoS coach Walt Noriega told the Express after the victory. “Last season we let it slip on the last day and this season we were determined not to let it happen again.”

Speaking ahead of the match, Noriega had warned: “I think the boys learned from last year. They know now it is not to take anything for granted and we have to do the business to execute to get over the line this year…The senior players, keeping them focused and letting them know we still need to do the business on the day of the game.”

Yesterday, AC PoS got the leadership they needed to complete the job. Captain Duane Muckette scored the opening goal in the 27th minute to give his side a 1-0 half-time lead and set up the second for Nathan Lewis in the 67th, while a Michel Poon-Angeron penalty completed the South job for the Capital Boyz 13 minutes from full time.

The new champions found the ruthlessness in front of goal that the Lawmen lacked against Central FC. While they dominated possession against the only team without a league win this season and had 24 shots on goal, only nine of those were on target, and just Joevin Jones’ 75th minute left-footed strike hit the back of the net for Police.

“Today wasn’t one of our better games,” admitted Police assistant coach Todd Ryan, who handled the side in place of the suspended Wendell Joseph. “We always knew coming into this one AC had their own fate in their hands but all in all, second is not a bad place.”

Muckette set the tone for his side at Mahaica, latching onto a cut-back from the left bye-line to beat the Civic goalkeeper with an uncontested shot. He also turned provider for Lewis in stylish fashion.

Intercepting a pass out of defence, Muckette advanced into the 18-yard box but had the presence of mind to backheel for his teammate who drove a low shot into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

Police still had not scored at that point. But the Capital Boyz did not relax. And when Poon Angeron was fouled in the penalty area, he got up and sealed the deal, hitting the ball to the keeper’s right as he dove left.

Civic didn’t get it right yesterday afternoon, but AC PoS just didn’t let them. This was not a day when a season’s hard work was going to be undone again. “It just shows that the work that we have been doing for the last two years, the rewards are there,” Noriega noted.

“The first half of the season we had nice momentum. In the second part of the season we had a little slip-up because of the breaks in the league but the boys were always in and about the title challenge. So it augurs well for the team, it augurs well for the organisation that the club is showing strides that they willing to compete at this level,” added Noriega.

Attention now turns to Thursday’s First Citizens Cup semi-finals, where new league champs AC PoS will take on Prison FC while Central FC will meet Defence Force.

Yesterday’s final round TTPFL Tier 1 scores:

Pt Fortin Civic 0 vs AC PoS 3 (Duane Mucktte 27th, Nathan Lewis 67th, Michel Poon-Angeron (pen) 77th)

Police FC 1 (Joevin Jones 75th) vs Central FC 0

Club Sando 4 (Shackiel Henry 25th, Jabarri Henry 57th, Marc Warfe 68th, Nathan Quashie 90th) vs La Horquetta Rangers 1 (Isaiah Lee 49th)

Defence Force 5 (Shaquille Betrand 18th, Mathew Woo Ling 45+4, Kevon Goddard 74th, Kaihim Thomas 82nd, Codell Bailey 90+1) vs Eagles FC 1 (Michel Huguens 44th)

1976 Phoenix 1 (Sherwin Lovell 76th) vs Morvant Caledonia FC 0

SOURCE: T&T Express