East Mucurapo Secondary School may not have had the best of competition as one of the 14 teams in this year’s inaugural edition of the Secondary Schools Premier Division Football but they celebrated as big a moment as Jamaica did last night by winning against all odds.
Mucurapo who finished among the bottom three teams to be demoted from the Division yesterday knocked the Division’s first runners up St Anthony’s College out of the national Intercol Championship, upsetting their more celebrated opponents 5-4 on penalty kicks in a semifinal clash on the St Mary’s College Ground.
(More on Mucurapo’s triumph in a subsequent Sports cast) As we put attention on Jamaica where last night hosts Jamaica also used kicks from the penalty spot to beat the highly touted Trinidad and Tobago 4-3 and capture the Caribbean Cup title for a sixth time.
With all doubt cast aside about Trinidad and Tobago taking the field for the match at the Montego Bay Sports Park, both teams played a tough game before packed stands but it ended in a scoreless draw after 90 minutes regulation time and the added 30.
Penalty kicks decided the outcome and Jamaica prevailed.
TT’s Belgim-based midfielder Khaleem Hyland missed on the Soca Warriors’ last attempt, slamming his right footer overbar, holding his head in anguish while the Jamaican team and fans, knowing his miss meant victory, erupted into varied expressions of celebrations.
Hyland and the Kenwyn Jones-led TT team and staff were crestfallen and did not immediately connect with the Jamaicans joy.
Jones himself was guilty of missing his team’s first penalty, kicking feebly and straight enough to the Jamiacan goalkeeper Andre Blake who made the easy save.
Jamaica had by then converted their first kick and even though their youngest layer Seaton missed his effort, it was the only one.
Both sides had already sealed berths in next year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, but the Jamaicans earned an added bonus of direct qualification to the 2016 Centennial Cup America.
The tightly-contested encounter between a pair of evenly-matched teams produced precious few scoring chances before the hour mark.
Jamaica’s Jobi McAnuff had the best in the 19th minute. The Leyton Orient standout missed the right post by the slightest of margins after swopping in to follow-up on an effort by Dane Richards that goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams did well to save.
In a 56th minute bid to loosen up the middle, team captain Austin cranked an attempt from 35-yards out that perhaps came closer than even he initially anticipated.
Reggae Boyz forward Darren Mattocks, who scored in each of the first three games, was frustrated with himself for not making better contact on an 81st minute header.
The Trinidadians found a new gear with minutes left in the second half as Daneil Cyrus headed over the crossbar off a corner kick, while second-half substitute Attaullah Guerra’s low drive from 25-yards out skipped just beyond the right post.
McAnuff nearly netted in the 93rd minute, but didn’t realize he had more time to shoot and hurriedly fired over the crossbar from just inside the box.
Jamaica and Trinidad, which has won a record eight Caribbean championships, completed the competition with the same unbeaten records at 2-2-0.