PRESENTATION COLLEGE San Fernando and San Juan North Secondary advanced to Wednesday’s Coca Cola National Intercol final after both securing convincing wins at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on Friday.
In the second of back-to-back matches, Presentation College ‘Lions’ roared past the St Anthony’s ‘Tigers’ by producing a masterclass 3-1 performance. During the opening minutes, St Anthony’s showed promise but were quickly silenced courtesy a firm strike from ‘Pres’ striker Ackeel Jacob in the 18th minute.
The Presentation frontline of Jacob, Jaiye Sheppard and Naeem Bisnath continued to pester the St Anthony’s defence. They were soon rewarded six minutes later as Sheppard found the back of the net by sleekly turning inside defender Quinn Frederick and easily firing home past goalkeeper Josiah Perez.
After the second goal, the travelling Tigers fans began to rally behind their team in hope of a possible fightback. However, five minutes before the break, Sheppard struck again, this time swiftly converting a loose ball which bounced off defender Shurland Augustine, to hammer past Perez and declaw the tame Tigers. At the resumption, the 2019 North Zone winners continued pursuit of an opening goal. ‘Pres’ looked better though and constantly created chances on both flanks, now with the inclusion of Jardel Sinclair.
In the 80th minute, Tigers substitute Kiron Manswell successfully converted a penalty kick, but it was too little too late for the North Zone winners. Presentation though, showed no remorse and still pressed to extend their lead in the dying minutes and Jacob, Sinclair and Sheppard ran riot at the St Anthony’s backline. Jacob would eventually receive the Man of the Match accolade for his scintillating performance.
The Sean Cooper-led squad has not won an Intercol final since the mid-70s and are favoured to capture the elusive title when the tournament climaxes on Wednesday.
In the first semi-final which kicked off, San Juan North defeated Carapichaima East 2-0 in waterlogged conditions. ‘Caps’ started well and dominated proceedings in the early stages of the match. However, a goalkeeping blunder from custodian Terell Leacock in the 30th minute saw San Juan striker and captain Renaldo Boyce swiftly pounce and slot home the opening item, his eighth of the season. Thirteen minutes later, Boyce played on a surging Christon Mitchell, who easily conquered the Carapichaima backline and found the back of net with a low, left-footed strike.
Into the second period, San Juan North continued to press forward as Boyce, Mitchell and Jordan Britto sought to extend the lead. Carapichaima’s frontline trio of Dexter Neils, Josiah Henry and Resean Britto also tried valiantly to pull one back but the San Juan defence stood firm. For his exemplary defensive efforts, San Juan’s Elisha Garcia captured the Man of the Match award.