Islanders take 1-0 series lead in Champions League qualifying series
- Islanders take 1-0 series leadPuerto Rico has advantage in Champions League qualifying series
Friday, May 9, 2008
BAYAMON, PR -- The Puerto Rico Islanders took the initial lead in the final step toward qualifying for the CONCACAF Champions League Friday night in Bayamon with a 1-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago’s San Juan Jabloteh. Fabrice Noel provided the lone strike for the Islanders.
Noel struck early into the match on a fantastic effort that saw him on a breakaway in which he beat goalkeeper Daurance Williams to put the winner into the back of the net.
The Islanders continued to control the remainder of the first half with several other opportunities. A header from Osei Telesford was turned away by Williams in the 28th and a free kick from Noel was also stopped in the 39th.
Jabloteh also had a couple chances including an open shot from Peter Byers in the 39th, but they proved not too difficult for goalkeeper Bill Gaudette.
Fast-paced counterattacks kept San Juan in the match in the second half, but they were unable to find any result as the Islanders became more defensive in posture as the half wore on. Despite the increased defensive presence, Jabloteh’s Robert Primus had back-to-back shots in the 64th and 69th minutes that forced Gaudette to make stops.
In the 83rd, the Islanders came the closest to doubling the match and series lead with a collective play that resulted in Atieno sending a shot off right post.
Moments later, a header from Kendall Jagdeosingh off a cross from Noel was denied by Williams, but protests from Atieno on the play resulted in his second yellow card and subsequent red card and ejection from the match.
The return match of the two-leg aggregate score series will be hosted by Jabloteh in Trinidad & Tobago on 25 May.
The CFU Playoff winner will join Harbour View FC of Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago's Joe Public FC as the Caribbean Representatives to the inaugural CONCACAF Champions League™ this coming August.
The Caribbean playoff was determined after the Islanders and Jabloteh lost in the semifinals of the CFU Club Championship against Joe Public and Harbour View, respectively, last year. Harbour View went on to claim the CFU Title by defeating Joe Public in the final.
The new CONCACAF Champions League format is a continuation of the Champions Cup format that recently concluded. The defending champion Pachuca CF of Mexico won their third CONCACAF Champions' Cup™ after defeating visiting Costa Rica's Deportivo Saprissa, 2:1, in the second-leg of the 2008 Final at the Estadio Hidalgo in Pachuca on 30 April, and, therefore, capturing the series 3:2 on aggregate.
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