Reaction to Caledonia AIA’s penalty shoot-out win against W Connection in the CFU Club Championship final…
The win will live long in Caledonia AIA’s 32-year history, as they made hard work of beating fellow Trinidad & Tobago side W Connection, on spot kicks, in the Championship final in Marabella.
It was a nervy affair, and finished 0-0 after normal time as both sides couldn’t find that vital goal. The two goals came in extra time, with Radanfah Abu Bakr heading in before Clyde Leon made no mistake from the penalty spot.
Caledonia goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel saved substitute Johan Peltier’s spot kick in the shoot-out, and therefore gifted his team a 4-3 victory on penalties. In fact he did more than this – he helped create a milestone as Caledonia AIA secured their first ever Caribbean title.
For those who don’t know what the competition is, the CFU Club Championship is one of the Caribbean’s biggest tournaments and whoever wins it, is granted access to the CONCACAF Champions League the following season.
Caledonia will now join a three-team group that includes United States’ Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit Seattle Sounders, who possess talented striker Eddie Johnson and Honduran club, Marathon. Meanwhile, Connection will face top Mexican side Chivas de Guadalajara and Guatemalan team Xelaju.
To be quite honest, it was a very even match in which Caledonia were patient in their build up play and equally Connection remained solid throughout, not wanting to make a risky move.
Twice the lights went out, as well, and twice the players had to be removed from the field. However, despite the distractions the set of players responded well and made it an exciting game.
Caledonia manager Jamaal Shabazz, also the coach of Guyana’s national team, started with a compact 4-5-1 system with forward Devorn Jorsling up top by himself. At the break, Shabazz was the happier of the two managers as his side failed to concede.
However, they made the transition of switching to a more attacking 4-4-2 formation later on in the tie with Jamal Gay, the right-winger, coming on for Nathan Lewis who failed to make an impact and struggled with the demands of the Caledonia fans, who made up the 400 attendance.
W Connection started, in the latter stages, to get more into the game but it inevitably, after some hard tactical work by both coaches, carried on to extra time where two goals appeared.
So Caledonia AIA are the latest Caribbean champions, and they’ll be hoping there are plenty more trophies to come.
By Nathan Carr