NAPARIMA hammered Pleasantville 4-0 yesterday to storm into the Coca-Cola’s South Zone Boys Intercol final in the first match of a doubleheader at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella. Naps, the 2018 league champions, will meet Presentation San Fernando in the final, after the latter got past St Benedict’s 1-0 in the second semi-final yesterday.
Naparima midfielder Mark Ramdeen, with a goal and two assists, proved a handful for Pleasantville and had a hand in almost all the penetrative moves that led to goals.
Naps took an early lead in the 10th minute when Ramdeen made a surging run down the left flank and delivered a low cross into the box where Kodel Frontin placed the ball into the back of the net. Naps were dominating the early stages of the game by controlling the tempo and keeping possession. Chances came ever so often as Naps unlocked Pleasantville’s defence time after time but their captain and custodian Raheem Lee kept the underdogs alive in the match.
Lee could do nothing in the 37th minute as Ramdeen slipped Seon Shippley through on goal with an exquisite pass and the striker made no mistake from inside the penalty area. Naps had another opportunity to pull further ahead before the half via a free-kick on the edge of the 18 yard box, but Lee held on to the goal-bound shot by Tyrike Andrews. The score remained 2-0 in favour to Naps at the half time interval.
After the resumption, Pleasantville tried to apply pressure on their opponents to reduce the deficit. However, they went further behind when a lack of communication in their defence saw Naps make it 3-0 in the 50th minute. Shippley got his second goal of the match, pouncing on a poor clearance in the back and lobbed the on-rushing goalkeeper.
Ramdeen was unfortunate not to get on the score-sheet in the 62nd minute after his header smashed against the post and his rebounding shot thundered off the crossbar. He finally got his reward 10 minutes later, eluding two defenders before stroking the ball into back of the net to make it 4-0.
Pleasantville almost got a consolation goal towards the end of the game but their attempt ricocheted off the woodwork. Ramdeen was named Man-of-the-match for his goal and two assists.
In the second match, St Benedict’s had an early free-kick opportunity but the attempt by captain Keon Boney went just wide of the target. St Benedict’s almost opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Jaycee Paras released Andez Tallan into the box but Presentation’s goalkeeper Jabari Gray rushed to the feet of the striker to block his effort.
‘Pres’ had the best chance of the first half in the 35th minute but Jayie Sheppard scuffed his shot inside the six yard box and St Benedict’s goalie Leonard Richardson recovered to stop the ball from crossing the line.
Presentation’s Jordan Riley then smashed a vicious shot two minutes later from outside the 18 yard box but Richardson was alert to make the save. Darnell Charles also tried his luck from the same distance for ‘Pres’ but Richardson got his body behind the ball once more and snuggled the rebound.
The score remained 0-0 at the half despite the increased pressure by Presentation. After the break, ‘Pres’ continued where they left off by pressing their opponents. St Benedict’s almost made the most from a half-chance in the 51st minute when Paras lifted the ball over Presentation’s defender Darnell Hospedales to make room for himself in the penalty area, however, he sliced his shot wide of the target.
As the game looked to be heading to penalties, Sheppard broke the deadlock with a powerful shot past St Benedict’s goalie from inside the penalty area in the 85th minute to deflate their supporters and set up a mouthwatering clash with Naparima. The South Zone Final is scheduled for Monday at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium.
In the North Zone, St Anthony’s and Trinity Moka advanced to Thursday’s final in contrasting fashions.
St Anthony’s brushed aside QRC 4-1 at the St Mary’s Ground in St Clair, but Trinity Moka needed kicks from the penalty spot to defeat East Mucurapo 5-4 at the Fatima Ground, Mucurapo.
At the St Mary’s Ground in St Clair, St Anthony’s got a double from Zion Williams (65th and 69th), and one apiece from Haile Beckles (fifth) and Josiah Edwards (81st). Miguel Cross was the lone goal-getter for the Royalians, in the 12th.
At the Fatima Ground, the scoreboard read 0-0 at the end of regulation time, but Trinity Moka held their nerves to prevail in the penalty shootout.
Today, the attention will switch to the Central Zone, where the semi-final games will be contested.
At the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, Carapichaima will tackle Couva East from 3 pm, followed by the clash between Presentation Chaguanas and Chaguanas North.
The East Zone final, between San Juan and Trinity East, will take place on Wednesday and the Tobago Zone decider, between Signal Hill and Speyside, is set for Thursday.