Connection claimed a sixth title on Friday night at the
Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella against Joe Public in
a thrilling encounter of the 2008 First Citizens Cup final.
It was their sixth overall win of the most prestigious knockout
title on the T&T Pro League calendar, winning them the
first place cash prize of $65,000.
Victory didnt come the easy way, though. W Connection
had to toil for it down to penalties (6-5) after a gruelling
2-2 draw against the Eastern Lions.
Spurred on by their supporters who came out in the hundreds,
W Connection held the firmest at sudden-death with Joe Publics
Jason Springer missing high over bar giving Connections
Teba McKnight the opportunity of the winning item and he
took it with comfort to beat goalkeeper Alejandro Figueroa
with the seventh kick, and causing the Stadium to erupt
into a party-like atmosphere.
Action at the south venue began with a third place play-off
between St Anns Rangers and Clico San Juan Jabloteh
which Rangers won 2-1 with all goals scored in the second
Keyon Edwards (60th) and Josimar Belgrave (61st) where the
scorers for Rangers while Jason Marcano notched Jablotehs
lone item in the 67th minute.
Joe Public got a goal on either side of the half from unlikely
sources Christopher Harvey and Keyeno Thomas both defenders
rather than tournament top scorer Gregory Richardson (with
four goals). Richardson also picked up the tournaments
Most Valuable Player title.
W Connection, winners of the First Citizens Cup in 2002,
2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and now 2008 had first half goals
by Andre Toussaint and Jonathon Frias, the double goal scorer
in the 2007 final against Rangers.
Action started from as early as the third minute when Joe
Publics Jamal Gay had to be denied by the brilliance
of goalkeeper Marvin Phillip.
But no time was wasted and Joe Public took a 1-0 lead in
the 11th minute when former Connection defender Harvey towered
above the W Connection defence to head Arnold Dwarikas
right side free kick past goalkeeper Phillip.
However, the defending First Citizens Cup champions W Connection
would level the scores 1-1 in the 18th minute in a miraculous
manner when Toussaints intended pass to Hughton Hector
was missed by both team-mate Hector and Joe Public goalkeeper
Alejandro Figueroadiving the wrong wayas everyone
looked on in astonishment with the ball trickling all the
way over the goal line.
Toussaint was again in goal mouth action when in the 33rd
minute his pass inside to Frias only needed enough boot
to ball to end up in the back of the net was kept out by
goalkeeper Figueroa in the nick of time.
But the five-time winners stepped up and took the lead two
minutes later and this time Frias made sure he struck well,
blasting the ball into the roof of the net to beat Figueroa
after being played in by Jose Luis Seabra in a play inspired
by Toussaint down the left for a 2-1 lead which held out
until the break.
Action resumed following the break and in the 56th minute
Keyeno Thomas equalised for the LionsDwarika
again the supplier, this time from a cross ball which Thomas
headed past goalkeeper Phillip for the 2-2 score.
Joe Public continued to hold the edge on Connection in the
second period with second half substitute Kerry Baptiste
adding more in attack. However, the scores remained 2-2
at the final whistle resulting in kicks from the spot.