All teams participating in the final matches today in Group A of the FLOW CONCACAF Caribbean Club Championship have a chance of qualifying for the next round. The top two teams from this group will advance to the Caribbean final round in May, which will determine CONCACAF Champions League and CONCACAF League spots. Dominican Republic’s Club Atletico Pantoja top the table with (4 points) followed by Real Hope Football Academy (3 points), W Connection (3 points) then Arnett Gardens FC (1 point).
Head Coach of W Connection Stuart Charles Fevrier switched all three of his strikers from the first match on Wednesday and replaced them with Surinamese Dimitrie Apai, Dominican Briel Thomas and former TT youth player Quinn Rodney on Friday night at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.
It paid off almost immediately as Marcus Joseph smartly finished a crossed from left back Kurt Fredrick to give the home team the early 1-nil lead. Ten minutes later, Joseph skilfully dribbled his defender before spotting the goalkeeper off his line and let loose a thunderous strike to get his double and put his team 2-nil up. He could have scored his hat trick in the 20th minute but, his effort came off the upright and moments later his bicycle kick went inches wide of the goal. Connection`s goalkeeper Julani Archibald made three crucial saves to ensure his team maintain the two goal lead at halftime.
On the stroke of the hour mark, Arnett Gardens was awarded a penalty for a handball in the box. Former Pro League player Fabien Reid slotted the ball to the left of Archibald who got a hand to the shot but couldn’t stop the powerful strike; cutting the lead to 2-1.
The Jamaicans kept pressing but the Savonetta Boys hold on to a tense 2-1 finish. Following his team`s victory W Connection captain Alvin Jones said, “ We did not put away our chances in this first game but tonight (Friday) we scored our first two chances so we are improving. Hopefully, we get it together on Sunday (today).”
In the earlier match, Club Atletico Pantoja`s Darly Batista played a delightful pass to Luis Espinal who side footed the ball into the goal beating Real Hope FA’s goalkeeper Luis Odelius in the 35th minute. Five minutes later, Armando Maita scored a header from a right sided corner to end the first half with a 2-nil lead.
Both teams found it difficult to adjust in the wet conditions but in the 59th minute Espinal scored his second goal in the match by tapping in an easy goal after the goalkeeper Odelius parried a shot. The scoreline ended 3-0 giving the Dominican Republic team their first victory of the campaign.
Today’s fixtures include : Arnett Gardens FC vs Real Hope FA at 5pm and W Connection vs Club Atletico Pantoja at 8pm.