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Whitecaps pip Central FC
Two-time reigning T&T Pro League and Caribbean Football Union Club champions, Central FC suffered a 1-0 loss to visiting US Major League Soccer outfit, Vancouver Whitecaps in their Group C opener which kick-off the 2016/2017 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Tournament at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on Tuesday night.
Playing their first competitive match since the end of the local domestic season, the Dale Saunders-coached Central FC were hoping to extend its unbeaten home run in the tournament after a win and draw in their two home matches on debut last year.
However, Whitecaps, winless in their last three MLS matches got the lone goal of the match through Cristian Techera in the first-half to launch their campaign with a vital on the road win.
It was not all smooth sailing for the visitors and their goalkeeper, Spencer Richey made five saves for the Whitecaps, who secured their first-ever SCCL road victory after three attempts in a match between teams making their second appearances in the tournament.
Central FC (0-0-1, 0), who were without T&T international and former England-based Kenwyne Jones after he did not received his International Transfer Clearance, outshot Vancouver, 12-8, but couldn’t convert that advantage into dangerous scoring opportunities, especially after half-time.
Techera was active down the left wing throughout the opening half and was rewarded for his efforts in the 34th minute.
Erik Hurtado created the opening when he dashed past two Central defenders on the left side of the penalty area. Then he dragged a cross back for Techera to drive a deflected shot off a defender on the goal line and into the net.
Central’s best chance of the half came deep into stoppage time, when Richey dove to his right, denying Leston Paul’s blast from the edge of the penalty area. A Vancouver defender lunged just in time to deny Darren Mitchell’s rebound attempt from the left.
Five minutes after halftime, Nathaniel Garcia also came close for the current Caribbean champion, only for his 25-yard attempt to blaze just over the crossbar.
Vancouver looked more likely to score late as goalkeeper Javon Sample reacting well to thwart Davies and Kianz Froese in the closing stages.
The “Sharks” host Sporting Kansas City on August 16, also at before finishing their Group C series away to both teams, at the end of which, only the winner will advance to the quarterfinals.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1 (Cristian Techera 34h) v Central FC 0
Referee - Sherwin Moore.
Central FC v Sporting KC, Ato Boldon Stadium
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