Kareem Joseph first equalized for Caledonia AIA in the first half before converting a second period penalty to help the Morvant/Laventille club lift the 2011 First Citizens Cup for the first time with a hard-fought 2-1 win over T&TEC FC on Friday night at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
The Final was nothing less than an intensifying one from the kickoff whistle.
T&TEC backed by hundreds of supporters decked in their yellow and accompanied by its rhythm section got the opening item in the 15th minute when Sylvester Teesdale converted an easy task of blasting into an open net for a 1-0 advantage.
Midfielder Andrei Pacheco, who had an earlier shot just wide of goalkeeper Zane Coker's upright, unleashed a low shot on goal in a set piece play and the Caledonia goalie fumbled on the attempted gather before being muscled off by Kurlon Ferguson who tapped a pass to Teesdale for the item.
However Caledonia leveled the scores 1-1 in the 26th minute when Joseph picked up a pass on the right after making one of his supporting runs on the rightside and blasted a shot past Akini Adams from outside the top corner of the penalty area.
The keen contest continued and Caledonia's Micah Lewis should have had his side in front by the 35th minute when he was played on the right by a Mekesi Lewis throughball with only goalkeeper Adams to beat, however the T&TEC goalie was quick to close down play blocking out the effort.
The half ended with the 1-1 scoreline but the intensity continued even in the second period which saw a superb freekick by Pacheco measured with an acrobatic push behind by Coker in the 57th minute.
The 2001 and 2007 defeated Finalists Caledonia then got what turned out the match winner in the 65th minute when Joseph converted from the spot on the left of goalkeeper Adams for the 2-1 score.
Caledonia won the penalty opportunity after Micah Lewis went to ground inside the area and assistant referee Dion Neil signaled the decision early.
Caledonia introduced the quick legs of Tobagonian forward Trevin Caesar replacing Mekesi Lewis just over the hour mark and the U23 player didn't take long before having an impact.
Caesar had to be denied by goalkeeper Adams in the 73rd minute after picking up a pass on the right and racing into the T&TEC area and in the 79th minute he attempted a shot on goal from distance only to see it well overbar.
While T&TEC substitute Bevon Lewis who replaced Kerlon Ferguson in the 78th minute was fractions off from scoring and assisting in injury time.
Lewis, coming off a groin injury which saw him miss the leadup games to the Final, headed inches overbar from a Teesdale corner and a minute later his low pass across the six yard area was just shy off meeting another substitute Daniel Garcia's boot, in what could have been a late equalizer.
T&TEC FC 1 - 2 Caledonia AIA
Sylvester Teesdale 15' ; Kareem Joseph 26', 65'(pen)
||Attempts on Target||5|
T&TEC FC - Akini Adams(gk), Kern Peters(capt.), Anthony Noriega, Corneal Thomas, Romauld Aguillera, Sylvester Teesdale, Vurlon Mills(Daniel Garcia 58th), Andrei Pacheco(Bevon Bass 72nd), Kerlon Ferguson(Bevon Lewis 78th), Kelvin Modeste, Akeem Adams
Coach - Dexter Cyrus
Caledonia AIA - Zane Coker(gk)(yellow card 93rd), Stephan David(capt.), Nuru Abdullah Muhammad, David Atiba Charles(yellow card 80th), Burton Sheldon Emmanuel, Micah Lewis(Abdallah Phillip 83rd), Akim Armstrong, Kareem Joseph, Mekesi Lewis(Trevin Caesar 63rd), Trayon Bobb, Jamal Gay(Keyon Edwards 76th)
Coach - Jamaal Shabazz