Caribbean Club: Atletico Pantoja, Arnett Gardens advance to finals

Club Atletico Pantoja’s Luis Espinal (white) scores against host W Connection in the Caribbean Club Championship on February 4, 2018, in Couva, Trinidad & Tobago. (Photo courtesy of Club Atletico Pantoja)

COUVA, Trinidad & Tobago - Club Atletico Pantoja (Dominican Republic) and Arnett Gardens (Jamaica) secured spots in the 2018 CONCACAF Caribbean Cub Championship (CCC), Tier 1 finals with Group A wins on Sunday at Ato Boldon Stadium. takes a look at the first-round matches:

Arnett Gardens 4, Real Hope Football Academy 0
Arnett Gardens jumped from last place to a spot in the finals on the strength of a 4-0 win over Real Hope Football Academy (Haiti).

After a scoreless first half, the Jamaican side exploded for four goals, including three by forward Fabian Reid - all with his right foot. The 26-year-old struck for the first and last goals (65', 90'+2), both from 10-yards out and made it 2-0 from the penalty spot (86').

Leon Strickland (90') netted the other goal from five yards off a left-sided cross by the outstanding Reid.

W Connection 0, Club Atletico Pantoja 3
Atletico Pantoja maintained its unbeaten record with a 3-0 win over host and three-time champion W Connection.

The in-form Luis Espinal (27') -- who put two goals past Real Hope on Friday -- gave the Dominican Republic power a 1-0 lead near the midway point of the first half, slotting in with his right foot from seven-yards out.

Four minutes later, Armando Maita (31') doubled the advantage off a neat pass by Espinal, before Jean Carlos Lopez (65') completed the scoreline with a second-half penalty kick.

The Competition
Club Atletico Pantoja and Arnett Gardens will join the top two teams from Group B (opens play on February 7) in the CCC finals, with the champion gaining a place in the 2019 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, while the runner-up and third place finishers will qualify for the 2018 Scotiabank CONCACAF League.

The fourth-place side will face the winner of the Tier 2 tournament -- Caribbean Club Shield -- in a playoff to determine the third club that will represent the Caribbean in the 2018 Scotiabank CONCACAF League. The Tier 2 champion, however, must comply with the minimum CONCACAF Club Licensing requirements to secure participation.

First Round

GROUP A (Ato Boldon Stadium - Couva, Trinidad & Tobago)  

Team  G  W  D  L  GF  GA  Pts
  Club Atletico Pantoja 3  2  1  0  6  0  7
 Arnett Gardens 3  1  1  1 5  2  4
W Connection  3  1  o  2 2  5 3
 Real Hope FA  3  1  2 1 7 3

January 31, 2018

Club Atletico Pantoja 0, Arnett Gardens 0

W Connection 0, Real Hope Football Academy 1
Johnson Jeudy 3'

February 2, 2018
Real Hope Football Academy 0, Club Atletico Pantoja 3
Luis Espinal 35', 59'; Armando Maita 41'

W Connection 2, Arnett Gardens 1
Marcus Joseph 2', 13' / Fabian Reid 62' pen

February 4, 2018
Arnett Gardens 4, Real Hope Football Academy 0
Fabian Reid 65', 86' pen, 90'+2; Leon Strickland 90'

W Connection 0, Club Atletico Pantoja 3
Luis Espinal 27'; Armando Maita 37'; Jean Carlos Lopez 65' pen

GROUP B (Estadio Cibao - Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic)

Wednesday - February 7, 2018
Central FC (Trinidad & Tobago) v Portmore United (Jamaica)
Atlantico FC (Dominican Republic) v Racing FC (Haiti)

Friday - February 9, 2018
Racing FC v Central FC
Atlantico FC v Portmore United

Sunday - February 11, 2018
Portmore United v Racing FC
Atlantico FC v Central FC


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