Portmore soar into Champions League

...Top Caribbean Club Championship after 1-1 draw with fierce rivals Waterhouse

By Dwayne Richards
Observer writer

Saturday, May 18, 2019

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Portmore United FC were crowned champions of the FLOW Concacaf Caribbean Club Championship for the very first time after playing out a 1-1 draw with local rivals Waterhouse FC at National Stadium East field Thursday night.

Portmore United came into the game needing only a draw to guarantee the title after winning their opening two encounters. However, Waterhouse needed a win to overcome their premier league nemesis after drawing their first game against Real Hope 2-2 after leading 2-0 at half-time.

A penalty from Javon East midway the first half gave Portmore the cushion they needed before a special strike from Andre Fletcher gave Waterhouse hope early in the second.

A late flurry in the closing stages by Waterhouse put Portmore United on the back foot, but the resilient Jamaican champions held firm, with a little bit of luck, to lift the trophy and advance to the Scotiabank Caribbean Champions League later this year.

Four previous meetings this season between the two teams had resulted in three stalemates and a single win for Portmore in the premier league final. Both teams know each other very well and that was clear from the start of the contest.

There was very little by way of clear-cut chances until Portmore were awarded a penalty and East, who had missed from 12 yards just two days before, bravely took responsibility once more.

East went in the opposite direction to where his effort was saved in the game against AS Capoise and though Akeen Chambers guessed correctly going to his right, he was unable to keep out the grounder which crept into the corner.

Waterhouse had two glorious chances to grab an equaliser before half-time but fluffed their lines on both occasions. First, a perfect delivery from a free kick by Mark Miller found Ricardo Thomas at the back stick, but his knock down was tame and easily handled by Shaven Paul in the Portmore goal.

Then with seconds left on the first-half clock the ball bounced nicely for Keithy Simpson, who hesitated and missed the opportunity to fire on target after the ball ricocheted off his knee into the arms of a grateful Paul.

Waterhouse got the start they would have wanted early in the second half when Fletcher's sweetly timed strike flew past Paul and into the far corner of the goal from deep on the left flank. It was a second spectacular effort from the player in as many games in the tournament.

Both teams settled in from there on before the late surge from Waterhouse saw Paul produce three blinding saves in succession to deny the team from Drewsland. A header from Rafeik Thomas appeared to go over the line but was not seen by the match officials, so fast paced was the action in front of the Portmore goal.

East had a chance to double his tally on the night and ensure a late Portmore winner, but he failed to get off a shot in time from inside the six-yard box.

Portmore United have proven to be the most consistent team in Jamaica in the last four years and will now represent the country at the highest club level in the Caribbean.

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