Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

CFU: Islanders on course to defend title

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on May 26, 2011

Puerto Rico Islanders crestPuerto Rico Islanders will face off against Haitian club Tempête FC in the final of the 2011 CFU Caribbean Club Championship.

Defending champions from last year, Puerto Rico Islanders are hoping to become the first team in over a decade to win back-to-back titles having overcome the challenge of Alpha United on Wednesday. With Guyana playing host to the semi-finals and final of this year’s competition Alpha United enjoyed home advantage against the champions. But the Islanders eventually proved too strong for United although they needed extra-time to overcome the Guyanese. Matthew Bouraee’s 23rd minute strike for the Islanders was cancelled out by United’s Dwain Jacobs with eight first half minutes remaining. But the crucial goals came in the second half of extra-time with Jonathan Faña and David Foley finally sealing the Islanders’ progress.

The Islanders’ opponents in the final will be Tempête FC who needed a penalty shoot-out to get past 2001 champions Defence Force from Trinidad & Tobago following a goalless 120 minutes. Rawle Fletcher and Anton Joseph were the unlucky culprits for Defence Force whose penalties failed to hit the net and thus handed the win to Tempête FC. The Haitian champions had a 100% conversion rate from their four spot kicks will now play in their first ever final which takes place at Providence Stadium in the Guyanese capital of Georgetown on Friday.

Caribbean: CFU Club Championship 2011 Preview

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on March 9, 2011
Puerto Rico Islanders

Puerto Rico Islanders are the reigning Caribbean club champions

The 2011 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship kicks off on Thursday, March 10th. Puerto Rico Islanders, the 2010 title holders, will begin their campaign in the second round. The tournament has switched to a straight knockout format, as opposed to the league stages which took up the first half of the competition last season, in the hope that the event will see more exciting football. But, as seems to happen regularly in this competition, a couple of teams have had to pull out before a ball has been kicked.

There were seven matches scheduled to take place in the next fortnight but due to financial pressures two teams, Bassa Sports Club from Antigua & Barbuda along with Dominican champions Centre Bath Estate, have had to withdraw. This has allowed both teams’ first round opponents, Guyana’s champions Alpha United and Haitian title holders Tempête FC, to qualify for the next stage by virtue of a walkover. Of the five two-legged ties that will go ahead the stakes will be high in the game involving Northern United All Stars (St Lucia) and Walking Bout Company (Suriname) as the winner will progress to meet Puerto Rico Islanders, who became the first team from outside Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica to win the competition last year. The Islanders’ compatriots River Plate, who won their national title in 2009-10, will hope to emulate their neighbours’ achievements but they have had to give up home advantage in the first leg of their clash with Bodden Town with the Cayman Islands outfit schedule to host both legs.

Defence Force, CFU title winners in 2001, will begin their attempts at winning a second title against Bermuda champions Dandy Town Hornets who very nearly had to forfeit their place in the competition due to lack of funds. Defence Force are the big favourites to progress as they are one of the top clubs in the region as well as national champions of Trinidad & Tobago. Caledonia AIA, who finished five points behind Defence Force in the 2010 T&T Pro League, face off against Newtown United from St Kitts & Nevis whilst the final match of the round involves Suriname champions Inter Moengotapoe and Guyanan runners-up Milerock FC.

The two-legged ties will be played over an eleven day period from March 10th-20th.

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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.

Caribbean: CFU title to be decided this week

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on May 4, 2010
Puerto Rico Islanders

Puerto Rico Islanders are amongst the quartet going for Caribbean glory

The Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship will be decided this week with the final group stage taking place at the Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya, Trinidad & Tobago from Wednesday May 5th until the final games are played four days later on Sunday. All four teams left in the tournament come from either the host nation or from Puerto Rico so there will be a couple of derbies to open up proceedings in the all-important final group stage in which, as well as the chance to call themselves Caribbean champions, each team will be hoping to claim one of the three spots available to enter the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League qualifying rounds. There is plenty to play for and “Stoppage Time – International Football Blog” previews the tournament teams and schedule:

BAYAMÓN FC (Puerto Rico)

The 2009 Puerto Rico Soccer League champions will be hoping to savour their first shot of glory at international level just one year after coming into existence. Bayamón FC played against St. Vincent & The Grenadines representatives Systems 3 FC in the first group stage which was reduced from three teams to two after many bureaucratic problems for their other scheduled opponents Elite Sports Club from the Cayman Islands. The same problems arose for the Puerto Ricans upon reaching the second stage when another potential opponent, Tempête FC from Haiti, also withdrew from the competition. This meant that Bayamón FC would play two matches against another St. Vincent side, Avenues United, which they won easily with an aggregate score of 8-2.

JOE PUBLIC FC (Trinidad & Tobago)

Two-time Caribbean champions Joe Public FC will be hoping to make it a hat trick of titles this year after failing to achieve this accolade in 2007 losing to Jamaicans Harbour View. In the first group stage Joe Public FC won all three matches against Avenues United FC, Leo Victor and Devonshire Cougars to easily go through to the second stage. The current T&T champions made easy work of progress into the final stage thanks to two big wins over Surinam’s Walking Boys (5-0) and Systems 3 FC (3-1). The club has two of the top scorers in the competition so far with Kerry Baptiste (6 goals) and Conrad Smith (joint second with four goals) in blistering form in front of the net.

SAN JUAN JABLOTEH (Trinidad & Tobago)

The Kings beat compatriots W Connection FC to the 2003 CFU Club Championship title but have not really come so close to repeating the feat since their 2006 final defeat to the same opponents. Having been given a bye into the second group stage the side from San Juan won two closely fought encounters against Guyana’s Alpha United (2-0) and Puerto Ricans River Plate (1-0) to qualify for the final stage. If they emulate last season’s third place in the CFU Club Championship they will hope to once again qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League in which they played in 2009-10 before falling at the group stage.

PUERTO RICO ISLANDERS (Puerto Rico)

After suffering a 2-1 defeat to Trinidad & Tobago side W Connection FC in 2009 last year’s runners up will be hoping to go one better in this year’s tournament. The side from Bayamón, who currently ply their trade in the United States D2 (second tier) Pro League, have had an easy route to the final group stage due to two factors. Firstly, the Islanders had a bye into the second group stage and, secondly, when they got there one of their opponents Leo Victor FC had already withdrawn from the tournament meaning that the Islanders’ only football in the competition so far has been two games against Haitian side Racing des Gonaïves. The Islanders won the “away” leg 2-0 and the “home” leg 3-0 (both games were played at their home ground) to easily dispose of their opponents and to set up another chance of Caribbean glory in the final group stage.

CFU CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE

05/05/2010 – Puerto Rico Islanders v Bayamón FC

05/05/2010 – Joe Public FC v San Juan Jabloteh

07/05/2010 – Joe Public FC v Puerto Rico Islanders

07/05/2010 – San Juan Jabloteh v Bayamón FC

09/05/2010 – San Juan Jabloteh v Puerto Rico Islanders

09/05/2010 – Bayamón FC v Joe Public FC

CFU: Second Round Review

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on April 20, 2010
Tempête FC logo

Tempête FC had to withdraw from the competition

The Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship second round has been completed over the last week and “Stoppage Time – International Football Blog” reviews the highs and lows.

Before a ball was kicked in the second round the competition was bugged by many of the administrative problems which had dogged it in the first round. Two Haitian teams, Tempête FC  and Racing de Gonaïves, had trouble obtaining Visas to travel to Puerto Rico where their respective group matches were to be held. But whereas Racing de Gonaïves eventually carried on their participation in the tournament their compatriots Tempête FC had to ultimately withdraw due to further difficulties with bureaucracy. But they weren’t the only team to withdraw from the championship as Surinamese side Leo Victor declined to play because of financial difficulties. Therefore two of the four groups in the second round only had two teams compared to the other groups which both had three teams each. The top team from each group will go on to compete in the final round of the tournament where the four teams will compete for three places in the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League tournament.

GROUP E (played in Puerto Rico)

Racing de Gonaïves 0-2 Puerto Rico Islanders

Puerto Rico Islanders 3-0 Racing de Gonaïves

(1. Puerto Rico Islanders 2 games/6 points; 2. Racing de Gonaïves 2 games/0 points)

GROUP F (played in Puerto Rico)

Avenues United 2-5 Bayamón FC

Bayamón FC 3-0 Avenues United

(1. Bayamón FC 2 Games/6 points; 2. Avenues United 2 games/0 points)

GROUP G (Played in Trinidad & Tobago)

San Juan Jabloteh 2-0 Alpha United

Alpha United 1-1 River Plate

San Juan Jabloteh 1-0 River Plate

(1. San Juan Jabloteh 2 games/6 points; 2. River Plate 2 games/1 point; 3. Alpha United 2 games/1 point)

GROUP H (Played in Trinidad & Tobago)

Joe Public FC 5-0 Walking Boys

Walking Boys 2-0 Systems 3

Joe Public FC 3-1 Systems 3

(1. Joe Public FC 2 games/6 points; 2. Walking Boys 2 games/3 points; 3. Systems 3 2 games/0 points)

So the final four will feature two clubs each from Puerto Rico (Islanders; Bayamón FC) and Trinidad & Tobago (Joe Public FC; San Juan Jabloteh) with the games to be played on the dates between May 5-9 in Macoya, situated on the island of Trinidad.

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CFU Club Championship: First Round Review

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on March 31, 2010
Joe Public FC

Joe Public FC qualified from Group C with a 100% record

The Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship has reached the conclusion of the first stage but the tournament had plenty of difficulties before a ball was even kicked. Two teams, Elite SC and Bath Estate FC, withdrew from the competition while Defence Force had immigration problems which forced them to play in another group within the tournament. Despite the various setbacks there was still plenty of football played and “Stoppage Time – International Football Blog” reviews the tournament so far:

GROUP A

Puerto Rico’s River Plate won this group with a 100% record after clocking up wins against Haitian team Racing de Gonaïves and the two Netherlands Antilles teams CSD Barber and Hubentut Fortuna. Once River had defeated the Haitian side 3-1 in the first game then the outcome of the next two games were never in doubt due to River’s superior squad. River Plate went on to beat Hubentut 5-1 and CSD Barber 4-0 to top the group while Racing qualified for the next stage finishing in second place one point above CSD Barber in the standings.

GROUP B

This group was reduced to only two teams after Guyanan representatives Defense Force were forced to transfer into Group D because they were unable to obtain entry into Puerto Rico due to strict immigration regulations. This meant that the two teams remaining in the group already knew that they had qualified for the second round before a ball had been kicked but the two teams still had to play two matches in order to determine rankings and placings for the second stage of the competition. Puerto Ricans Bayamón FC sealed the first spot in the group having won the first match against System 3 FC by four goals to nil in the first game and securing a 2-2 draw in the return game.

GROUP C

Two-time winners of the CFU Club Championship Joe Public FC from Trinidad & Tobago easily topped the group with a 100% record in Group C after wins over Avenues United (St. Vincent & The Grenadines), Leo Victor (Surinam) and Devonshire Cougars (Bermuda). There was a fight for second when Avenues United defeated Leo Victor 3-1 in the final game of the group but it turned out that the losing Leo Victor side had the best record out of those teams that finished third in their group and, thus, also qualified for the second stage.

GROUP D

Bath Estate FC from Dominica withdrew from the competition before the start and were replaced by Guyana’s Defence Force FC. However the Guyanans didn’t have a happy time of it in this group losing to both Walking Boys from Surinam and table toppers Alpha United FC in their group games. With the top two teams drawing 1-1 in the group’s second match it was down to overall goal difference to decide who finished where and it was Alpha United who emerged triumphant with a goal difference of +2 in comparison to Walking Boys’ +1.

SECOND STAGE

The second stage will see three new teams enter the tournament as they had a bye from the first stage. Puerto Rico Islanders are last year’s CFU Club Championship runners-up and they are joined by current Haitian champions Tempête FC and San Juan Jabloteh, whose best finish in this tournament was in 2003 where they finished in third place. The second stage, which is to be played from April 13-17, will consist of four groups of three with the winner of each group going into the third and final group stage:

GROUP E: Puerto Rico Islanders (Puerto Rico), Racing de Gonaïves (Haiti), Alpha United (Guyana)

GROUP F: Tempête FC (Haiti), Avenues United (St.Vincent & The Grenadines), Bayamón FC (Puerto Rico)

GROUP G: San Juan Jabloteh (Trinidad & Tobago), River Plate (Puerto Rico), Leo Victor FC (Surinam)

GROUP H: Joe Public FC (Trinidad & Tobago), Systems 3 (St.Vincent & The Grenadines), Walking Boys (Surinam)

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Caribbean: CFU Club Championship 2010 Preview

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on March 15, 2010
CFU logo

The logo for the Caribbean Football Union

It seems that in every major region of the world nowadays there is a football tournament that brings together the cream of the footballing crop to fight it out for the ultimate glory at international level. The Caribbean region is holding a tournament for seventeen of its major club sides from March until May with the competition split into three league stages with the third and final round determining the champion and, along with that, the three sides who will represent the region in the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League. Since the tournament commenced in 1997 there have been seven different winners of the competition with all of them coming from either Jamaica or Trinidad & Tobago. The latter country is home to the current champion W Connection FC who, having finished fourth in their domestic championship in 2009, will not be participating in this season’s competition. Three teams have already been given byes to the second round group stage: Puerto Rico Islanders, FC Tempête (Haiti) and San Juan Jabloteh (Trinidad & Tobago).

Each of the groups in the first round are played in a designated venue spread over a number of days. Group A will be played in Willemstad, Netherlands Antilles, from March 16-20 and the two local sides CSD Barber and the 2009 domestic champions Hubentut Fortuna will be hoping to make home advantage count. However they face some tough opposition in the form of Racing Club Haïtien, record champions of Haiti and one of two teams from that country to have won the CONCACAF Champions Cup, who will fancy their chances of progression although this is only their second appearance in this tournament, their maiden appearance in 2001 saw them reach the second round group stage before losing out to W Connection FC. The other side in this group are Puerto Ricans River Plate who were founded in 2007 with help from their more illustrious namesakes from Argentina and are making their maiden appearance in this tournament having won the 2009 Puerto Rico Soccer League (PRSL) regular season.

Only three teams will play in Group B whose games will all be played in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. Local side Bayamón FC have an obvious advantage and the 2009 PRSL play-off champions should get through to the second stage with relative ease. Systems 3 from St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Guyana’s Defense Force make up the rest of the group which will be concluded on March 27th. Group C will be played in Kingstown, St. Vincent & the Grenadines from March 17-21 and the local representatives Avenues United FC will hope to count on local support to get them through a tough group. The obvious favourites to claim top spot are Joe Public FC who are two-time winners of the CFU Club Championship (1998, 2000) and current national champions of Trinidad & Tobago. Leo Victor FC from Surinam haven’t won their domestic championship since 1992 but did perform in this tournament in 2007 reaching the quarter-finals so they are not a team to take lightly. The final team in Group C are Devonshire Cougars, three-time champions of Bermuda, representing a country who is sending a team to this tournament for the first time. Finally Group D will take place in the Guyanan capital Georgetown from March 16-20 in another three team group involving local side Alpha United, Centre Bath Estate from Dominica and Surinam champions Walking Boys Company FC.