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Hashim Arcia earns Army opening win
Defence Force FC began the new 2018 Pro League season with a victory against an improved Morvant Caledonia United outfit 4-3 in the second game of a Super Friday doubleheader at Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on opening night, Friday.
Substitute Hashim Arcia scored the winner for coach Marvin Gordon’s side, after the Tetron Boys twice needed to come from behind with Devorn Jorsling (38) and an own goal credited to Morvant Caledonia’s Jomokie Cassimy (58) cancelling out strikes by Morvant Caledonia’s Quincy Ballah (31) and Ronaldo Francois (40).
Brent Sam (66) gave Defence Force the lead for the first time before Sheldon Holder (70) levelled the Eastern Stallions. But Arcia (73) had the last say, grabbing the winner in an enthralling affair after San Juan Jabloteh and Point Fortin Civic played to a dreadful goalless stalemate in the opening game.
Morvant Caledonia started brightly but saw Kerry Daniel, Kareem Joseph and Holder all denied by Defence Force goalkeeper Andre Marchan in the first six minutes.
However, Marchan was hung out to dry by his defence on the half-hour mark and Ballah put the Jerry Moe-coached Morvant Caledonia 1-0 ahead with a cool finish after Francois, picked out by Holder in the box, rolled a feed across the area.
Jorsling levelled Defence Force 1-1 with a simple tap-in on Terrence Lewis’s goal on 38 minutes when Thurlani George headed a Sam cross back into the six-yard area.
But Morvant Caledonia was back in front two minutes later, for a 2-1 lead which they took in at the break, thanks to a finish from Francois who had earlier unleashed a stinger which troubled Marchan.
Morvant Caledonia looked on their way to exacting revenge over the side that thumped them 4-0 in the semi-finals of the First Citizens Cup a month ago, but for a second time allowed the narrow lead to slip – this time by their own doing.
Referee Kwinsi Williams credited the goal to Cassimy, the defender he said inadvertently headed into his own net two minutes from the hour mark on a corner swung in by Dylon King who was denied by ‘keeper Lewis.
Sam then handed Defence Force the lead for the first time on 66 minutes with his sixth goal in all competitions this season when he beat Lewis in mid-air to win an Aklie Edwards cross before nodding a header into the net for a 3-2 lead.
That too, was however short-lived when only seconds onto the pitch Morvant Caledonia debutant Shem Clauzel was influential in setting up Holder to find the back of the soldiers’ net to put the scores at 3-3 in the 70th minute.
But a double-substitution made by Gordon early in the second half would pay huge dividends – full three points to be exact – after Arcia, picked out by a squared pass from Jameel Cooper from the left, thundered a strike through the legs of Lewis from 20 yards out in the 73rd minute for the eventual 4-3 winner.
Morvant Caledonia must next travel to Civic from 7 pm at the Mahaica Oval on Tuesday in Match Day Two in search of their first point/s, while Defence Force will host St. Ann’s Rangers from 7 pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Wednesday.
Today's matches (Ato Boldon Stadium)
W Connection against St. Ann’s Rangers from 4 pm
Club Sando vs Police FC from 6 pm.
San Juan Jabloteh 0 vs Point Fortin Civic 0
Defence Force FC 4 (Devorn Jorsling 38’, Jomokie Cassimy Own Goal 58’, Brent Sam 66’, Hashim Arcia 73’) vs Morvant Caledonia United 3 (Quincy Ballah 31’, Renaldo Francois 40’, Sheldon Holder 70’), at Ato Boldon Stadium.
North East Stars vs San Juan Jabloteh, 4pm at Larry Gomes Stadium;
Point Fortin Civic vs Morvant Caledonia United, 7pm at Mahaica Oval.
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