Thu | Jan 27, 2022

Four teams, one spot as Manning Cup Group B hits the high notes

Published:Saturday | December 4, 2021 | 12:08 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Excelsior High School’s Rojaughn Joseph (right) stands on the ball as Dunoon’s Gerrard Clunis tries to close him down.
Excelsior High School’s Rojaughn Joseph (right) stands on the ball as Dunoon’s Gerrard Clunis tries to close him down.

Excelsior, Jonathan Grant, Tivoli and St Andrew Technical all go into their final Group B ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup football games this afternoon with hopes of securing an automatic second-round qualifying spot.

The top two teams from each group qualify automatically, along with the two best third-place teams.

Second-place Excelsior will have the hardest task of the teams as they go up against group winners, unbeaten Camperdown, who have already qualified with 16 points from six games, at Ashenheim Stadium at 12 p.m.

In the group’s other games, St Andrew Technical play Jonathan Grant at Stadium East, St Jago meet Tivoli at Prison Oval, both also starting at 12 p.m., and Dunoon take on Jose Marti at Prison Oval at 3 p.m.

Excelsior sits second in Group B with 11 points but only on goal difference ahead of Jonathan Grant. Tivoli follow with 10 points and St Andrew Technical with nine.

Excelsior coach Xavier Gilbert said their opening-day defeat to Tivoli has led to their current situation and he insists it is up to them to get themselves out of it.

TOUGH ENCOUNTER

“We have to win this last game to have any chance of advancing. We play the group leaders, so it is going to be a tough encounter.

“The group is closely knitted right now and, as we stand, four to five teams still have an opportunity to advance.

“We are mindful of that and we just have to make sure we take care of our business. It is going to be tough but we put ourselves in this position and we just have to get ourselves out of it,” he said.

Gilbert believes the game will be a true test of his team’s title-challenging credentials.

“It is going to be a good test for us if we advance. So we welcome the challenge and we just hope we can execute and advance to the next round,” he said.

Defeat for Excelsior and victory for Jonathan Grant will see the latter through. But Jonathan Grant’s opponent, St Andrew Technical, will be looking to create an upset, while hoping other front-runners lose.

In Group A, Jamaica College entertain Bridgeport at Stadium East at 3 p.m. and St George’s College play Charlie Smith at Ashenheim Stadium at 3 p.m.

Jamaica College (10 points) will try to reclaim top spot in the standings from Kingston Technical (12) when they square off against second-from-bottom Bridgeport (four) in their final group match.

Charlie Smith (nine) go into their final game knowing that anything less than a win against St George’s College (six) will mean they are out.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com