Fri | Aug 12, 2022

Underdogs not giving anything in today’s JPL semi-final ties

Published:Sunday | June 26, 2022 | 12:15 AMLivingston Scott - Gleaner Writer
PHOTOS BY Ian Allen/PHOTOGRAPHER
Harbour View’s players celebrate after scoring against Arnett Gardens in the Jamaica Premier League second-leg quarter-final match  at Sabina Park on Thursday.
PHOTOS BY Ian Allen/PHOTOGRAPHER Harbour View’s players celebrate after scoring against Arnett Gardens in the Jamaica Premier League second-leg quarter-final match at Sabina Park on Thursday.
Akel Clarke (centre), Cavalier SC goalkeeper, celebrates with members of the coaching staff after he saved two penalties to beat Mount Pleasant United 4-3 in a penalty shootout at Sabina Park to advance to the semi finals of the Jamaica Premier League on T
Akel Clarke (centre), Cavalier SC goalkeeper, celebrates with members of the coaching staff after he saved two penalties to beat Mount Pleasant United 4-3 in a penalty shootout at Sabina Park to advance to the semi finals of the Jamaica Premier League on Thursday.
1
2

THE BATTLES for places in the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) final begin this afternoon with the playing of the first-leg semi-finals at Sabina Park.

In the opening game at 3 p.m., Cavalier oppose Dunbeholden, then, at 5:15 p.m., Waterhouse entertain Harbour View.

Defending champions Cavalier come into this game as underdogs, as they did in the quarter-finals against Mount Pleasant. However, coach Rudoloh Speid says his team has shown a tendency to rise above the most difficult challenges.

“This is a different team from last season and they have their own legacy. Jamoi Topey, Kamoy Simpson, Jamar Purcell are no longer with us, Bryan English is out, so people we had on the title-winning team are not in this team.

“But we have an X factor, which most people do not realise. Every single time this season they have counted us out, we bring the goods. We played Arnett Gardens and beat them twice. We went to Mount Pleasant and beat them. So our X factor is that, whenever things are tough, we find a way.

“So, no matter how we are playing and what we are not doing, every time there is a match that we have to win, we deliver and that is our X factor,” he said.

However, in nine meetings in the past four seasons, Cavalier have registered only one win over Dunbeholden, while their opponent has won four. Speid said this is their toughest challenge yet.

“This is probably our biggest task. We have played them nine times and won once, so our record against them is dismal. Their style of play is very very rough and a lot of times it has worked against us.

“But we like conflicts. That makes you win things and Cavalier is not going to make life easy for anybody. It is going to be hard but we are confident,” he said.

TOUGH GAME

After a week’s rest, Dunbeholden’s manager, Paul Christie, says they have been eagerly awaiting their turn to play, and that they look forward to the contest.

“It is always a tough game against Cavalier and I expect nothing different. We have no excuse, so we are here to play football the right way and live with the result.

“Favourite or not, you have to go out on the day and execute. And if we do that, we should be okay. But, at this point, the Jamaican people do not want to hear excuses, they know that we are in the semi-final and we have to go out and execute,” he stated.

If Cavalier’s record against Dunbeholden over the last four seasons is dismal, then Harbour View’s against Waterhouse over the same period is nothing short of horrific.

In eight matches, Waterhouse has won seven, which included a 7-0 drubbing in the aborted 2019-20 season.

However, The Stars of the East are on a high after their quarter-final win, and will be looking to turn the tables.

“When we played them the last time, we scored two of the (own) goals and (Oshane) Staple was not on his best day.

“But this team is a very disciplined team and the team vibe and chemistry is so excellent at the moment, they believe they can do anything. So, we are here to compete and to play good football, and we want a little bit of both,” said coach Ludlow Bernard.

Regular season champion Waterhouse will be without coach Marcel Gayle who is away on national duties with the U20s in Honduras.

However, assistant coach Damion Gordon knows a thing or two about winning titles after leading Tivoli Gardens to the 2017 Jackie Bell Knockout title.

Waterhouse has the best attacking team this season, with 41 goals, and boast the meanest defence, with 18 conceded. Add to that, a highly motivated unit.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com