Two each for Benny, Lawrence

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CHE BENNY scored twice after coming off the bench as two-time champions Central FC moved up to fifth spot after rallying from a goal down to defeat sixth-placed San Juan Jabloteh 3-1 in the TT Pro League.

Meanwhile, third-placed Police lost a two-goal lead and only just held on for a 2-2 draw with rampant fourth-placed Morvant Caledonia United in the second match of Friday’s double-header at the Ato Boldon stadium.

The opening action showcased a crop of new and young players in the Pro League this season.

Promising national Under-20 striker Justin Araujo-Wilson (fifth) put Jabloteh ahead with a low shot from five metres out.

However, former overseas-based striker Akim Armstrong levelled the match in 11th minute when providing a stiff, low shot to the far post after intercepting a poor clearance.

For much of the match both teams attacked regularly without looking menacing. That was until Jabloteh had left-side defender Severe Verilus sent off and Benny, another recent national Under-20 player, netted twice within a quarter-hour, after coming on as a substitute. Also getting a run and looking good was Jabloteh’s national Under-15 midfielder Jaheim Faustin, son of ex-national «Marvellous» Marvin Faustin.

After scoring, Jabloteh went close again a couple of times and got two excellent early second half efforts from industrious midfielder Kadeem Hutchinson. His first tested former national team prospect Cleon John with a long range shot and Hutchinson also headed the resulting corner directly to the veteran goalkeeper.

Meanwhile, prolific Central striker Sean Boval also showed great skill when getting past three defenders and testing the Jabloteh goalie Jesse Peters with a hard, low shot. Boval then took one of the worst corners in the history of the Pro League.

Things changed with Aquil Selby’s lunging tackle which ended Benny’s run into the penalty area. The former St Anthony’s College standout then got up and scored from the penalty spot to give Central FC a 2-1 lead in the 61st minute. Jabloteh then lost Verilus who was red-carded when he tugged back Noel Williams, who was racing into the penalty area and Benny put in the resulting free kick from the edge of the penalty area to hand Central FC a 3-1 advantage in the 72nd minute.

The feature match was an intense affair between two top four teams. Police dominated the early action and led Morvant/Caledonia in the 10th minute through Juma Clarence’s looping header onto a left-side Kareem Freitas cross.

Freitas (58th) doubled the lead at 2-0 with a back post shot which deflected in off a defender. Police looked in total control until young striker Tev Lawrence got the first of two goals with a low shot following a square pass from right winger Joshua Martin.

Striker Stephan Campbell had a chance to put the game away for Police but looped a header wide of the open net and from then on, the lawmen were under tremendous pressure as Morvant/Caledonia launched wave after wave of attacks. And Lawrence finally brought them level at 2-2 when he picked his spot and found the corner from the centre of the penalty area. Police only just held on to a point in the end.

TT PRO LEAGUE RESULTS:

Friday – Ato Boldon Stadium

Central FC 3 (Akim Armstrong 11th), Ché Benny 61st – penalty & 72nd) San Juan Jabloteh 1 (Justin Araujo-Wilson 5th)

Morvant Caledonia United 2 (Tev Lawrence (62nd & 83rd) Police FC 2 (Juma Clarance 10th & Kareem Freitas 58th)

UPCOMING MATCHES:

Today

3.30 pm: AC Port of Spain vs Terminix La Horquetta Rangers, Larry Gomes Stadium

4 pm: W Connection vs Point Fortin Civic, Ato Boldon Stadium

6 pm: Cunupia FC vs Club Sando, Ato Boldon Stadium

LINK ORIGINAL: Trinidad Express

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