Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

CFU: Islanders secure first Club Championship triumph

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on May 10, 2010
Puerto Rico Islanders

Puerto Rico Islanders are CFU Club Champions for the first time in their history

The Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship came to an exciting conclusion on Sunday with the Puerto Rico Islanders getting through a tough final group stage to become Caribbean champions in 2010, their first title at this level of competition. There was still glory of sorts to be celebrated for second and third place teams Joe Public FC and San Juan Jabloteh as they, along with the champions, also secured spots for the qualifying rounds of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League. The only team who were crying in their beers at the end of the tournament were Bayamón FC who had to make do with the wooden spoon in the final round and will hope to come back stronger for the experience next year.

Matchday One of the final group stage saw two derby matches with Puerto Rico’s Islanders and Bayamón FC going head-to-head whilst Trinidad & Tobago representatives San Juan Jabloteh and Joe Public FC clashed in the other opening day game. The Islanders easily saw off their rivals with Noah Delgado, Nicholas Adderly and Josh Hansen scoring the goals before the hour mark to dispose of Bayamón FC 3-0. In the T&T derby a solitary strike from Abu Bakr secured the three points for two-time winners Joe Public FC as they won a tough encounter with San Juan Jabloteh by a goal to nil.

On Matchday Two the winning teams from the opening day, Joe Public FC and Puerto Rico Islanders faced-off in a game in which a win for either side would almost certainly land them the title. However the game finished in a 1-1 draw but only after some dramatic late action. Marcus Joseph had given Joe Public the lead six minutes into the second half and the Trinidadians held out until deep into stoppage time when Josh Hansen secured a point for the Islanders with a last-gasp equalizer. In the second game of the round San Juan Jabloteh comfortably gained three points over Bayamón FC who were finding the going tough at the final stage. A brace for Jason Marcano and further strikes for Kennedy Hickson and Mickel Awai provided the platform for a 4-1 victory, Kendall Watson scoring a consolation for the depleted Puerto Rican side.

After two games the Islanders and Joe Public were level on four points but San Juan Jabloteh had brought themselves back into the reckoning lying  just one point behind going into Matchday Three. The Islanders faced off against Jabloteh in what was a closely fought contest in which the two teams were separated only by a 19th minute goal from Nicholas Adderly, the Jamaican scoring his second goal of the final group stage. The despair of oncoming defeat got to one Jabloteh player, Elijah Manners, who was shown a second yellow card with three minutes of the match remaining and the Islanders were able to hold out against the ten men to secure three priceless points. This meant that Joe Public had to win their game against Bayamón FC by four clear goals to win the tournament but the Puerto Ricans were in no mood for laying down. Bayamón FC took the lead as early as the tenth minute thanks to Alan Acevedo but the T&T side were back on level terms on 27 minutes when Abu Bakr scored his second goal of the final stage to make the game 1-1. The second half saw Bayamón FC shock the match favourites by scoring two goals in quick succession. Adrian Brown and Kendall Watson struck the decisive goals to turn the match in Bayamón’s favour and there was to be no coming back for Joe Public who had to be satisfied with their second runners-up placing in three years.

As for the Islanders they secured their first Caribbean title just one year after suffering heartbreak in the 2009 final against another T&T side, W Connection FC, and are about to look forward to their third CONCACAF Champions League appearance in a row, a feat that can only be matched by Cruz Azul of Mexico and Club Deportivo Marathón of Honduras since the tournament changed its format in 2008-09.

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