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Apai’s double lifts Connection to FCB title
W Connection FC are now champions of the First Citizens Cup title for an unprecedented eighth time.
This became so after a double strike from Suriname international Dimitrie Apai led the Savonetta Boys to a convincing 3-1 victory over Defence Force in the final at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on Friday night.
It was a rough start for Connection though as they watched their former player, Hashim Arcia, run on to a cheeky Devorn Jorsling flick to bundle the ball over the line for a 1-0 lead, and position the Army for its fourth First Citizens’ title.
Connection responded with two goals in a space of five minutes through Apai in the 19th minute and Hughtun Hector in the 24th, for a 2-1 advantage that it took to the half-time interval.
Apai first connected with Weslie John’s flicked-on header from Hector’s free kick, gliding past the Army goalkeeper Sheldon Clarke for the equalizer. Then Hector put the Savonetta Boys in front for the first time with a solo run after Marcus Joseph’s through pass prized open a usually compact Army defence.
Defence Force controlled the game for the most part after the resumption and should have equalized midway through from the penalty spot when Shaquille Bertrand was brought down by Triston Hodge on his way to goal. Julani Archibald however, acrobatically denied Jorsling from the spot.
Later Archibald also kept out a thunderous drive by defender Curtis Gonzales ten minutes from the end, after Jamali Garcia’s earlier header rattled off the crossbar.
Apai drilled the final nail in the Army coffin when he broke the off-side trap to fire past Clarke in the 85th minute for the win.
After the game Apai said “I had a good mental preparation. I organized myself early and told myself we have to win something for the year.”
Charles-Fevrier said he was happy for the club and the players. “All the First Citizens Cups we won are special. We are a club that always pride ourselves on winning silverware. Today we had to dig deep because Defence Force played very well, but in the end we were tactically solid, especially defensively and we got the goals at critical times.”
Meanwhile Club Sando claimed third in the play-off after edging Point Fortin Civic 4-3 on penalties. Both teams were inseparable at the end of regulation time, at one goal apiece as Akeem Redhead’s goal in the 85th minute for Club Sando cancelled out an opening goal in the 44th by Nathaniel Garcia.
First Citizens Cup Awards:
MVP – Dimitrie Apai (W Connection)
Most Goals – Devorn Jorsling, 3 (Defence Force)
Best Goalkeeper – Julani Archibald (W Connection)
Best Defender – Maurice Ford (W Connection)
Best Midfielder – Hashim Arcia (Defence Force)
Best Forward – Dimitrie Apai (W Connection)
Best Coach – Stuart Charles Fevrier (W Connection)