MARBELLA, Trinidad – Matthew Aldred and Peter Byers scored first-half goals to rally Antigua Barracuda FC from an early own-goal to a 2-1 victory over W Connection of Trinidad on Thursday and claim the second-round Group 5 title in the Caribbean Club Champions Cup.
Both clubs advanced to the final four-team round of the CFU club championship which will determine the region’s three qualifiers for next season’s CONCACAF Champions League.
Barracuda FC, which is in essence the Antiguan national team coached by Antigua national team manager Tom Curtis, started play last season in the United Soccer League’s USL Pro division – the third tier of American soccer.
W Connection, which won the Caribbean club title in 2009, went ahead in the 21st minute when Barracuda captain George Dublin inadvertently put the ball in his own net. But Aldred equalized in the 38th and Byers – who has eight goals in six games in World Cup qualifying – put Antigua ahead four minutes later.
Barracuda FC finished the group with seven points, one ahead of W Connection.
In the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader, Haiti’s Victory SC overwhelmed Inter Moengotapoe of Suriname 8-2 in a clash of the group’s amateur sides. Richard Charles scored four goals to lead Victory, which finished third with four points.
Barracuda FC and W Connection will face two teams from Group 4, which is set to play May 21-25 in George Town, Cayman Islands. The defending champion Puerto Rico Islanders and fellow professional side Caledonia AIA of Trinidad will face local club and host George Town FC and Baltimore SC of Haiti.
Only the professional teams are eligible to play in the CONCACAF Champions League.