Advantage Humble Lion
Humble Lion made home advantage count yesterday when they edged Portmore United 2-1 at the Effortville Community Centre in their first-leg Red Stripe Premier League semi-final.
Ricardo Cousins scored in the 59th minute and substitute Francois Swaby the 71, to put Portmore 2-0 up before Osani Ricketts pulled a goal back for Portmore in the 75th minute.
Humble Lion started well and looked more purposeful as a result of good link-up play from captain Wolry Wolfe, Cousins and Andrew Vanzie in midfield.
Portmore countered with captain Omar Daley, Ewan Grandison, and Ricardo Morris. The half ended 0-0.
In the second half, Cousins sent the home crowd into wild celebrations when he sent a shot from inside the 18-yard box past Portmore's goalkeeper Shaven-Sean Paul.
Swaby entered the match in the 69th minute for Kemeel Wolfe and scored two minutes later to put his team 2-0 ahead.
However, Portmore got a vital goal when Ricketts slotted home 15 minutes from the end.
Humble Lion's head coach, Vessel Reynolds, was elated
for the win heading into the second-leg semi-final next Monday at the Anthony Spaulding Complex in Trench Town, starting at 6 p.m.
"It was a good performance as Portmore are technically a very good team. We have been improving in our finishing and got two goals today," Reynolds told The Gleaner.
Looking ahead to the next game, the head coach said: "I am very confident as the team is peaking at the right time."
Swaby, who returned from injury and started on the bench, was full of praise for his team.
"It feels good to come off the bench, and to score the second goal, but it was a team effort. We will focus on the next game against Portmore," Swaby said.
Jeffrey Hewitt, Portmore's head coach, said the tie is far from over.
"Humble Lion did well and gained the advantage, but we have everything to play for in the next game," Hewitt said.
The winners on aggregate will advance to the final.
Montego Bay United will host defending champions Arnett Gardens at the Montego Bay Sports Complex tonight, starting at 8:40 o'clock in the second semi-final.
At the Red Stripe Premier League press briefing last Thursday, Arnett's coach Jerome Waite said his team was "fully recovered (from the recent Caribbean Club Championships) and ready for the semi-finals".
Montego Bay United director Lincoln White said: "We are ready to regain the title from Arnett Gardens. Coach Paul 'Tegat' Davis will field the strongest team."