Your Premier Jamaican Sports Portal
TG goal feast
André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
National representatives Devon Hodges and Keammar Daley were at their best as Digicel Premier League (DPL) new boys, Benfica FC, were given a cruel footballing lesson yesterday evening inside the Edward Seaga Sports Complex, as goal-thirsty hosts Tivoli Gardens (TG) ran out 5-0 winners in second round action.
The result pushed Tivoli Gardens to 26 points, while Benfica remain on 17 in their maiden DPL season.
A brace from former Rivoli United hitman, Hodges (1st, 44th minutes) along with strikes from Kwame Richardson (21st), Jameel Thompson (39th) and Daley (70th) - inclusive of three assists from the latter - ensured another goal feast for TG, who are still on cloud nine following their 5-1 drubbing of Waterhouse in the first end-of-round final.
"The instruction was to get at them as early as possible and we did that," said Glendon 'Admiral' Bailey, coach of Tivoli Gardens. "We are trying to send a message and we want to keep the intensity high at all times, especially when we are playing at home."
The body language of the Benfica players before the start of the contest suggested that the spectators were going to be treated to a well-matched affair; after all, the St Ann team were only six points shy of their more illustrious opponents.
However, with only 35 seconds gone on referee Oneal Clayton's watch, TG showed signs of things to come, as Hodges started the rout by sneaking between two defenders to nod a quickly taken Daley free-kick out of the reach of goalkeeper Donovan Hynes.
Benfica quickly dusted themselves off and fired two responses through Garfield Reid, with a free kick, and Carlington Smith, both of which went wide. Had either of those chances went in, it may have been a better trip home for the noisy St Ann faithfuls, but it was not to be.
On 20 minutes, Richardson found a few holes in the Benfica defence before rolling a well-placed shot beyond the onrushing Hynes to make it 2-0. Daley was once again the architect with a well-threaded pass.
The best was yet to come, as what followed for Tivoli Gardens was an absolute beauty. Hodges, this time, was the provider with a delicate chipped pass into the box, which was met with malice by Jameel Thompson. The midfielder volleyed the lofted pass with disdain beyond the frustrated Hynes and into the top right hand corner. Interestingly, it was Tivoli Gardens' third goal from as many shots.
Benfica had no answer for the slick passing and smooth movement of their hosts and when Hodges and Daley linked up again in the 44th minute, with the former heading another precisely lofted pass into the net, the end was nigh for the Eastern Confederation champions.
The little maestro, Daley, waltzed between two defenders after making the most of a fortuitous rebound, to tuck his shot into the left lower corner of the net to complete the hammering.
Benfica's coach, Vanie Clarke, was gracious in defeat, but assured that his team will bounce back.
"We clearly did not have our best game; we defended poorly and were impotent, at best, up-front. We have to go back and be a lot more honest with ourselves and come up with a solution. At the end of the day, Benfica will come back stronger from this result," Clarke said.