AC Port of Spain crowned 2024 TTPFL tier one champions

AC Port of Spain captain Duane Muckette receives the trophy from TT Premier Football League (TTPFL) CEO Colin Wharfe on Sunday. AC clinched the title with a victory on the final day of the league. - COURTESY TTPFL FACEBOOK PAGE
AC Port of Spain captain Duane Muckette receives the trophy from TT Premier Football League (TTPFL) CEO Colin Wharfe on Sunday. AC clinched the title with a victory on the final day of the league. - COURTESY TTPFL FACEBOOK PAGE

AC Port of Spain were crowned champions of the 2024 TT Premier Football League (TTPFL) tier one, courtesy a commanding 3-0 victory over Heritage Petroleum Pt Fortin Civic Centre on the final match-day at Mahaica Sports Complex in Pt Fortin on May 19.

A goal each from AC PoS skipper Duane Muckette, Nathan Lewis and Michel Poon-Angeron affirmed the coveted TTPFL tier one title which was, for a second consecutive season, forced to be decided on the final day’s play.

Capital Boys coach Walt Noriega was elated to lift the crown and pocket the $250,000 prize this year, following their heart-wrenching second-place finish in the first TTPFL edition in 2023.

It felt like redemption, he said, and credited the team’s never-say-die attitude throughout a tough season of football.

“It’s a continuation of the work we’d done last year. Everyone knew we fell short and now we’re glad we’ve put that to rest and take home the title this year. It’s just about the little experience and the things we did in training, we knew how we let it slip last year. This year, they were adamant and said ‘coach, don’t worry, we’re bringing it home.’ They were positive all the time.”

AC PoS needed three points on the final day to guarantee them the trophy since second-placed Miscellaneous Police FC kept on their heels, just two points behind heading into the last round of matches.

The result saw AC PoS once again qualify for the Concacaf Caribbean Cup.

Looking back on the season, Noriega was generally pleased and lauded his players for digging deep to pull themselves back in the latter half of the season.

"The first round we did well, had one slip up against Defence Force when we lost in the 96th minute. And the second round it was a bit difficult with some breaks in the league.

“We lost momentum and we were struggling a bit, and couldn’t find our rhythm from first rounds. But they grinded it out and we brought the title back in the last set of games in the second round.”

When asked what the victory means for the team, Noriega said it was a "big boost."

“We put those 2023 demons to rest. Tomorrow (May 20) they’ll get a day off, Tuesday (May 21) and Wednesday (May 22) back at the training round to prepare for the (First Citizens Knockout) semi-final Thursday (May 23).”

In the Police versus Central FC match at the Barracks in St James, the lawmen held on for a 1-0 victory courtesy a 75th minute strike from Joevin Jones. The win for Police also confirmed their runner-up TTPFL tier one finish and a spot in the Concacaf Caribbean Cup.

Additionally, last year’s champions Defence Force settled for third place in the 2024 edition as they thrashed Eagles FC 5-1 at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar.

Army’s Shaquille Bertrand opened the scoring in the 18th minute, but had his effort cancelled out courtesy a goal from Eagles’ Michel Huggins in the 44th. However, Defence Force’s Matthew Woo Ling bagged one just before the half-time break to put them 2-1 up.

Kevin Goddard (74th), Kaihim Thomas (82nd) and Codell Bailey (91st) put the match beyond reach for the servicemen. Their third-place finish earned them a spot in the Concacaf Club Shield.

In other matches, Club Sando held on to fourth place on the final day as they defeated Terminix La Horquetta Rangers 4-1 at Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella and 1976 Phoenix FC snatched a 1-0 win over Caledonia at the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago.

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