|Jabloteh, Connection in Pro League decider |
By JOEL BAILEY Saturday, November 29 2008
CLICO SAN Juan Jabloteh and W Connection, the two biggest rivals in the Pro League, will square off today in the virtual decider for the 2008 title.
This game, which kicks off at 3 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, will also determine the winner of the Lucozade Sport Big Six crown, with defending league champs Jabloteh holding a two-point lead over the 2007 Big Six title-holders Connection in both events (Big Six and League).
Both teams met three times during this season – Jabloteh won 1-0 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on June 24; their second meeting at Couva ended in a 2-2 draw on September 2 while Connection prevailed 1-0 on October 23.
For most of the season, these two pace-setters have virtually been the only ones in contention for the league crown. Following the June 24 encounter, Connection, coached by Stuart Charles-Fevrier have gone on a 26-game unbeaten run while Jabloteh, after the October 23 game, are on a nine-game winning streak.
Since the Pro League began in 1999, both teams have secured the crown on three occasions, with Connection prevailing in 2000, 2001 and 2005 while Jabloteh lifted the title in 2002, 2003 and 2007.
Two other matches – Round Four Match Day Five – will take place today from three o’clock, as North East Stars oppose United Petrotrin at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Arima while Joe Public oppose Caledonia AIA at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.
On Thursday, both Jabloteh and Connection took care of North East and Joe Public by 3-1 and 1-0 margins respectively.
At Arima, Jerol Forbes notched his 15th goal of the season (and seventh with Jabloteh) when he opened the scoring for the league leaders in the 34th minute, while his strike partner Jason Marcano widened the advantage in the 41st.
North East’s captain Anthony Wolfe pulled one back on the stroke of half-time, pushing his season’s tally to nine, but his opposing skipper Trent Noel sealed the win for Jabloteh with an 87th minute freekick.
At the Marvin Lee Stadium in Tunapuna, Connection missed three opportunities to break the deadlock, early in the second half, against Joe Public.
Jose Luiz Seabra’s 57th minute freekick went inches high, Hughton Hector embarrassingly shot straight at goalkeeper Alejandro Figueroa inside the six-yard box while Andre Toussaint forced a fine save from the Colombian-born goalie after defender Christopher Harvey bravely cleared a goal-bound shot from St Kitts’ captain George Isaac.
The 30-year-old Isaac, who rejoined Connection on loan a fortnight ago, got the winner in the 84th, drilling his low right-footer home after a give-and-go with fellow substitute, Colombian Oscar Torijano. Connection had two close shaves in stoppage time, but Seon Power and Roen Nelson shot overbar, both attempts from the edge of the penalty box.
In the day’s other fixture, Caledonia rallied from a two-goal deficit to hold Petrotrin to a 2-2 draw at the Palo Seco Recreation Ground.
Striker Kevon Woodley, who moved into the Petrotrin’s starting line-up after Forbes moved to Jabloteh, netted his 11th goal of the season after 55 minutes while newcomer Jeremy Gould extended the lead for the Southerners four minutes later.
But Caledonia responded with goals from a pair of overseas left-footed players – Guyanese Walter Moore in the 63rd and St Vincent’s Kendall Velox in the 79th. For the 37-year-old Velox, this was his 13th goal of the season.
Pl W D L F A Pts
San Juan Jabloteh 31 23 4 4 63 25 73
W Connection 31 22 5 4 59 21 71
North East Stars 31 13 5 13 42 42 44
Caledonia AIA 31 12 7 12 46 44 43
Joe Public 31 12 6 13 49 40 42
United Petrotrin 31 10 9 12 38 49 39
St Ann’s Rangers 27 9 7 11 50 52 34
Defence Force 27 8 6 13 41 47 30
Ma Pau SC 27 7 4 16 33 63 25
Tobago United 27 3 3 21 25 63 12
BIG SIX points standings: Jabloteh 12; W Connection 10; North East 4; Joe Public 2; Caledonia AIA 2; Petrotrin 2.