Late Darren Mitchell goal puts Central one win away from Concacaf Champions League spot

‘Couva Sharks’ to meet Haiti’s Don Bosco in a repeat of last season’s Caribbean Club Championship semis

​Central FC midfielder Darren Mitchell. (Courtesy Central FC Fan Club Facebook account)
Monday 14 March 2016

Darren Mitchell scored with four minutes left to give defending champions Central FC a hard-fought 1-0 win over Jamaica League leaders Montego Bay United on Sunday to secure a place in the semi-final round of the 2016 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship where the “Couva Sharks” will meet Haiti’s Don Bosco in a repeat of last season’s semis.

A draw at the Montego Bay Sporting Complex in Jamaica would have also suffice with Central leading the three-team Group 3 on goal difference ahead of kick off, after Friday’s 6-0 hammering of Cayman Islands team Scholars International, who were defeated 4-0 by Montego Bay United on Wednesday.

But Mitchell scored his second Caribbean Club Championship goal of the current campaign in the 86th minute, hitting past former Joe Public and Jamaica international goalkeeper Jacomeno Barrett from a left side Marcus Joseph cross to flatten the home side’s hopes of advancing into the semis.

Two minutes earlier Montego Bay United defender Winston Wilkinson saw red after picking up his second yellow card of the game for a challenge on Jason Marcano that sent the “Couva Sharks”’ midfielder crashing off the field and into the fourth official’s table.

Apart from a difficult game—something the Dale Saunders coached-Central had predicted—the “Couva Sharks” were forced to replace first choice goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams with Akel Clarke just beyond the half hour mark with a suspected shoulder injury, which the Trinidad and Tobago international picked up in the 20th minute.
​Central FC players share a light moment showing off the Trinidad and Tobago flag in Jamaica. (Courtesy Central FC Fan Club Facebook account)
However Central, Caribbean champions on their Club Championship debut in 2015, went on to become the second TT Pro League outfit to qualifying for this season’s semi-final round after W Connection, who topped Group 1 hosted in Trinidad in February.

The two semi-final round winners and the third-place winners of the Club Championship will secure the three Caribbean berths at the 2016/17 Concacaf Champions League.

Connection, multiple-time Caribbean champions and last season’s runners-up, completed their group with maximum 9 points with wins over Dominican Republic’s Atlantico FC (4-2), Guadeloupe’s CS Moulien (5-1) and Suriname’s Inter Moengo Tapoe (3-1) and will meet Jamaica’s Arnett Gardens in the semi-finals on April 29.

Arnett Gardens topped Group 4 hosted in Dominican Republic with wins over Haiti’s America FC (3-0), Suriname’s SV Notch (8-4) and home side Club Atletico Pantoja (1-0).

While Central’s semi-final opponents for a second consecutive time, Don Bosco FC, topped the three-team Group 2 in Haiti. The hosts defeated Bermuda’s Somerset Cricket Club FC (5-0) and Guadeloupe’s La Gauloise de Basse-Terre (3-1).

Last season Central, coached then by former England and Tottenham defender Terry Fenwick, needed penalties to defeat Don Bosco 3-1 following a goalless semi-final draw before edging 9-man W Connection in the final to lift the Caribbean crown.

Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship 2016
Group 3, Montego Bay Sports Complex, Jamaica
Wednesday 9 March
Montego Bay United 4
 (Dwayne Gordon 25’, 73’, 80’, Courtney Duval Own Goal 42’) vs Scholars International 0

Friday 11 March
Central FC 6
 (Jamal Jack 2’, Michael Yaw Darko 16’, Jason Marcano 64’, 90’+1, Darren Mitchell 68’, Mickaeel Jem Gordon 89’) vs Scholars International 0

Sunday 13 March
Montego Bay United 0
 vs Central FC 1 (Darren Mitchell 86’)

Group 1, Ato Boldon Stadium, Trinidad
Wednesday 24 February
Inter Moengo Tapoe 3
 (Cedric Vamur Own Goal 26’, Romeo Kastiel 31’, 92’) vs Club Sportif Moulien 2 (Steve Bizasene 47’, Willis Francillonne 64’)

W Connection 4 (Jomal Williams 32’, 68’, Jamal Charles 78’, 90’+1) vs Atlantico FC 2 (Nelson Benitez 7’, Kerbi Rodriguez 65’)

Friday 26 February
Atlantico FC 0
 vs Inter Moengo Tapoe 1 (Gregory Pokie 31’)

W Connection 5 (Jamal Charles 7’, Jomal Williams 53’, Dimitrie Apai 67’, Alvin Jones 70’ penalty, Malik St. Prix 90’+1) vs Club Sportif Moulien 1 (17.Richardson Petit 3’)

Sunday 28 February
Ato Boldon Stadium
Club Sportif Moulien 0
 vs Atlantico FC 4 (Leinner Perez 17’, 53’, Cristian Casseres 59’, Wuiswell Isea 62’)

W Connection 3 (Jamal Charles 10’, Malik St. Prix 81’, Hughtun Hector 90’) vs Inter Moengo Tapoe 1 (Kareem Kwasie 90’+2)

Final Round
April 29
Semi-Final 1
W Connection (T&T)
 vs Arnett Gardens (Jamaica)
Semi-Final 2
Don Bosco FC (Haiti) 
vs Central FC (T&T)

May 1

Central FC line-up against Montego Bay United on Mar. 12, 2016: Jan-Michael Williams (GK) (Akel Clarke 33rd minute), Kevon Villaroel, Kaydion Gabriel, Jamal Jack (Capt.), Andre Ettienne, Nathanial Garcia, Elijah Manners (Elton John 46th minute), Darren Mitchell, Sean De Silva, Jason Marcano, Marcus Joseph

Unused substitutes: Nicholas Dillon, Michael Yaw Darko, Kadeem Corbin, Leston Paul, Mickaeel Jem Gordon

Coach: Dale Saunders