Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
Tivoli Gardens proved too hot for their west-Kingston neighbours, Arnett Gardens, as they spanked them 5-0 in their Flow Champions Cup semi-final meeting yesterday at the Drewsland Stadium.
By virtue of the victory, which was achieved courtesy of goals from Keammar Daley (15th and 18th), Kemar Flemming (39th), Jameel Thompson (50th) and Dwayne Smith (89th), Tivoli is one step away from defending their title and pocketing the $1M prize money on offer.
Arnett exited the competition $200,000 richer for having made it to the semi-final.
To compound Arnett's misery, they ended the game with 10 players after Andre Dyce was ejected in the 74th minute by referee Karl Tyrell, following a foul on Daley, which was his second bookable offence.
Tivoli, led by an inspired Daley, hit the ground running and established an early two-goal cushion on the back of spectacular strikes from the 25-year-old.
"I have been working hard and hard work is now paying off again," Daley expressed.
Daley's first goal was a sweetly struck 25-yard free kick, which was caressed over the wall, under the bar and just wide of the fully stretched Arnett keeper, Damion Hyatt, who could not keep the shot out despite getting his fingertips to the ball.
Hyatt did not have any hope of saving Daley's second goal which came three minutes later. The diminutive midfielder picked up a ball midway Arnett's half and weaved his way within 20 yards of the goal before getting off a shot which kissed the left upright on its way in.
Buoyed by the excellent start, Tivoli totally dominated the half and deservingly added a third six minutes from half-time when Flemming was the first to react to a partial clearance by the Arnett defence to slot pass the out rushing Hyatt.
Arnett made all three of their substitutions at the begin of the first half which saw them exhibit a little more energy. This was, however, soon zapped as Thompson increased Tivoli's lead five minutes into the second half after ghosting into the box to head in a left-sided corner by Daley.
Second-half substitute, Smith, took advantage of some sad Arnett defending, as he was allowed to waltz into the area and fire pass the helpless Hyatt.
Tivoli's assistant coach, Alvin Shaw, was naturally delighted with his team's performance.
"I couldn't ask for anymore, they gave an excellent performance today and I am pleased," Shaw said.
Arnett's coach, Calvin Lewis, hinted at off-field factors influencing his team's poor showing.
"When you have so much problems before a game; we even had to call in the pastor yesterday and it was summed up today by an awful team performance," Lewis shared.
Waterhouse and Harbour View were set to contest the second semi-final at the same venue.
See full report in today's Star.