Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Western Bureau:Jamoy Sibblies' late goal, in the 89th minute, lifted defending champions Tivoli Gardens (TG) FC to a thrilling 2-1 victory over Montego Bay United (MBU) on Thursday night at the Montego Bay Sports Complex. With the win, Tivoli booked a semi-final berth alongside Waterhouse FC, former champions Harbour View, and neighbours Arnett Gardens.
"It was a great match for the spectators," said beaming Glendon Bailey, Tivoli coach. "The team was up to the challenge and I think we definitely have the team to mount a really serious challenge in all competitions this year."
Tivoli had taken an 18th-minute lead through a Renike Anderson goal, after the initial shot from a free kick smashed against the upright and rebounded into play. The midfielder was quickest to respond, as his shot rolled over the goal line for the lead.
MBU, who dominated play just before conceding immediately went in search of the equaliser. On one of their lightning fast breaks, a long ball sent downfield from a goal kick picked out the speedy Allan Ottey on the left flank. He dismissed his marker and charged towards the box from an angle and was brought down just inside by a covering defender.
Lacon Brissett stepped up and sent the resulting penalty past goalkeeper Edson Scott to tie the scores at 1-1 in the 31st minute.
"We moved the ball around very well. Montego Bay were a constant danger with their speed up front, but my players dug deep for the win. I told them at the half to just play our game, and this is the end result. A good, solid win," added Bailey.
MBU threatened two minutes after equalising, but Leslie St Fleur missed the target after being sent clear by yet another brilliant defence-splitting Allan Ottey pass.
Whatever Bailey told his players at half-time, worked like magic as they held the ball up expertly, leaving little space for the MBU midfielders led by Ottey and team captain Jermaine Woozencroft to launch their bullet-quick counter-attacking game.
The game was won when a pass was hit inside the area where Sibblies controlled before drilling a low shot into the back of the net to silence the mostly MBU crowd in the grandstand.