AC Port of Spain, Army clash in First Citizens final

TT Premier Football League (TTPFL) CEO Colin Wharfe (R) presents the 2024 TTPFL trophy to AC PoS skipper Duane Muckette on May 19. Photo courtesy TTPFL.  -
TT Premier Football League (TTPFL) CEO Colin Wharfe (R) presents the 2024 TTPFL trophy to AC PoS skipper Duane Muckette on May 19. Photo courtesy TTPFL. -

NEWLY-CROWNED TT Premier Football League (TTPFL) champions AC PoS and 2023 TTPFL double winners Defence Force will conclude the local top-flight season in a mega clash on Wednesday in the First Citizens Knockout Cup final from 8 pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.

In the inaugural TTPFL season last year, Defence Force dramatically defeated AC PoS on the final day of the league campaign to snatch the crown from the reach of the “Capital Boys.”

With attackers Reon Moore and Brent Sam on top of their game, to go along with exemplary defending from 2023 TTPFL MVP Justin “Shiggy” Garcia, Defence Force put the stamp on a fine 2023 season when they defeated Terminix La Horquetta Rangers by a 5-3 margin in last season’s knockout final.

Defence Force coach Lloyd Andrews says his team wants to “create history” by becoming the first team to win back-to-back knockout crowns in the TTPFL era. However, they won’t have things their own way, as AC PoS are intent on securing a 2024 TTPFL double to match Defence Force’s achievements from last season.

This season, AC PoS held their nerve on the final day of the league on May 19 when they spanked Heritage Petroleum Point Fortin Civic by a 3-0 margin to edge Miscellaneous Police FC to the league crown by two points.

Having acquired the taste of success, AC PoS manager Junior Maxwell believes his team have hit the right groove to add another title to their trophy cabinet.

“We’ll just go out there and put our heads down and play AC PoS type of football. Yes, they are the defending champs, but those games between us are usually competitive,” Maxwell told Newsday.

“We know they edged us twice for the season so far, but all we can do is put our heads down and do what we know we can do and hopefully the result will go our way.”

Defence Force celebrate their 2023 TT Premier Football League (TTPFL) Knockout Cup title. -

Defence Force finished third in the TTPFL with 40 points, four shy of AC PoS’ points tally. Andrews’ charges showed their prowess in the head-to-head meeting between the teams, though. In the first round of the league campaign, a stoppage-time goal from midfielder Rivaldo Coryat gave Defence Force a slender 1-0 win. Meanwhile, the reigning knockout champions got a 2-0 victory in the second matchup on April 3 after a terrific second-half showing in Mucurapo.

“I believe the team that controls the middle of the park and takes their chances will dictate how the game goes,” Andrews said.

In the First Citizens semis, both teams strolled to the final with comprehensive wins. Defence Force clobbered Central FC 5-0, while AC PoS whipped Prisons FC 4-1. Centre forward Isaiah Leacock, who started the season with AC PoS, registered a hat-trick for Defence Force in the semis. AC PoS captain Duane Muckette also scored a hat-trick in his team’s win as he took his First Citizens tally to five goals.

Andrews said it will be important to limit the space afforded to AC PoS’ creative players.

“We have to pay attention to everyone because it’s a team that just won the championship. We cannot forget anybody,” Andrews said. “We have to close them down as quickly as possible. If we give them room and time to play they will be very tricky.”

Maxwell said last season’s slip-up gave AC PoS the drive and determination to make a statement this season. Up to this point, they have been heard loud and clear.

“We fell short last year and we didn’t want that to happen again. It’s been about hard work, determination and willpower,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell said AC PoS won’t rely on individual brilliance, and he believes they will be lifting the trophy if they play their flowing brand and take their chances.

Andrews said Moore’s departure for Pacific FC in March contributed to his team’s slow start to the season. Now they have found their footing, they want to finish as kings of the cup again.

“Everything is a first and the players must want to be a part of history. Winning this title will also be part of history for any team. We would have been the first to win the TTPFL double, and we want to be the first team to win the knockout tournament twice.”


"AC Port of Spain, Army clash in First Citizens final"

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