EAST MUCURAPO began their season, in the 2019 Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division, with an emphatic 6-0 rout of QRC this afternoon, in a first-round encounter, at the Fatima Ground, Mucurapo.
Malachi Celestine scored a hat-trick, Zion McLeod notched a pair and Jaheim Patrick got the other item for the hosts.
Celestine opened his account in the 15th minute when he slotted a right-footed shot past the "Royalians" goalkeeper Christon Mannette, after good work on the right flank by right-back Daniel Lake.
Mucurapo’s goalie Jamale Blackman made a pair of saves in the 21st, to deny Veron Aqui and Nathaniel James. Those stops by Blackman proved decisive as Mucurapo cleared the ball from the back, produced a counter-attack and Patrick completed the move with a goal, to the right of Mannette.
Celestine netted his second, and Mucurapo’s third, in the 33rd, as the QRC defence was caught napping.
And Celestine secured his hat-trick eight minutes later, as he made a run past two defenders and drilled a left-footed shot to the left of Mannette.
QRC, coached by Nigel Grovesnor, are fielding a revamped team this season.
They had a couple of opportunities to reduce the deficit – in the 45th, Blackman produced a decisive save from Jude-Anthony Johnson’s volley and, two minutes into the second half, Jahiem Granderson’s deflected shot crashed off the post.
The Dale Saunders-coached Mucurapo squad took things easy until the 81st minute, when McLeod got his name on the scoresheet.
McLeod raced on to a pass from Daniel David and directed his left-footed shot to the left of an outstretched Mannette.
And, in the last play of the match, McLeod took control of a ball in the penalty box and sent a deflected left-footed drive over the reach of the QRC goalie.
Naparima started their title defence with a 3-0 victory over St Mary’s at Lewis Street, San Fernando. Ezekiel Kesar netted a double and Seon Shippley got the other for the Angus Eve-coached Naps.
In related news, the Naps-St Mary’s game, which was advertised as the feature game on the cable network Sportsmax, was not aired due to a sponsorship issue.
The Naps players donned uniforms with branding of their title sponsors Tiger Tanks Limited even though, at last week’s launch, the SSFL announced that all Premier Division teams will be using Joma jerseys with the logo of official sponsors Digicel.
Round Two matches will be staged on Saturday.
Other Results – MALICK (5) vs SPEYSIDE (0); NAPARIMA (3) vs ST MARY’S (0); PLEASANTVILLE (1) vs SAN JUAN NORTH (0); PRESENTATION SAN FERNANDO (6) vs TRINITY MOKA (0); ST AUGUSTINE (1) vs ST ANTHONY’S (1); TRINITY EAST (2) vs ST BENEDICT’S (1).