Naparima College is the 2018 Coca-Cola National Intercol champions after the team defeated San Juan North Secondary School 4-3 from the penalty spot in an exciting final at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva yesterday.
Watched by a large crowd that included the Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith, who met the players before kick-off, the southerners added the prestigious silverware to the Secondary School Football League (SSFL) Premier Division and South Intercol titles, for an impressive triple crown this season.
After a goalless 90 minutes of football, Naparima goalkeeper Levi Fernandez held on to Jerry Morris' effort from the spot for his teammate Tyrike Andrews to equalise at 3-3 and send the game into sudden-death penalty kicks.
In the first shootout, San Juan's Akil Johnson missed when his shot rebounded off the upright. Then with a perfect season on the line, Seon Shipley made no mistake with his attempt from the spot which sends the crowd into wild celebrations as the ball hit the net at the back of the goal.
In the early action of the match-up, San Juan mounted a series of early attacks that had Naparima on the defence in the first half as both teams were playing at that venue for the first time this season but San Juan was playing like it was their home ground.
San Juan thought they might have scored when Elair Brewster's well-floated ball from a left side free-kick found the head of Renaldo Boyce, but it cannoned off the crossbar and into safety.
Naparima came to life in the latter part of the first half and from a Decklan Marcelle's cross from the left, they got their first chance at goal. However, Isa Bramble connecting header did not trouble keeper Emmanuel John in the 32nd minute. With honours even after that attempt on the San Juan goal, the teams went into the dressing room evenly matched as the half-time scoreline stayed goalless.
Afterwards, both teams cancelled each other out in the early part of the session until San Juan's Brewster got a rare chance from a ball that was lofted inside the penalty area. However, his weak attempt was quickly secured by Naparima goalkeeper Levi Fernandez.
The southerners received renewed energy when Mark Ramdeen turned and twisted his marker on the left flank before his thunderous drive cannoned off the crossbar and safety behind the goal line. As play continued with both teams seeking title honours and bragging rights, both sides could not be separated, and they had to settle the affair from the penalty spot.