Two semi-finalists have been decided for this year's installment of the ISSA/Digicel/Gatorade Manning Cup as Excelsior triumphed in the top-of-the-table clash with Spanish Town High and Hydel High advanced ahead of Jamaica College on goal difference.
With Excelsior and Spanish Town locked on six points each, they both entered the top-of-the-table clash on Friday knowing that they had to deliver a stunning performance to clinch the only advancing spot. In front of a sizeable group of patrons at the Spanish Town Prison Oval, it was Excelsior who triumphed 2-0 thanks to a Brian Richards brace to break the hearts of the 'local' supporters who came out to see Spanish Town continue their impressive run this season.
In the group's other game, one of mere academic interest, Calabar hammered Donald Quarrie 7-2 to claim their only points of the second round. Javon East scored a hat-trick for the victors to lead all scoring.
Over the past few season, Hydel have been signalling that will be soon be a force to reckon with, and without a doubt their cries have been heard this season as they have soldiered against the odds to clinch their first-ever semi-final appearance in the Manning Cup.
After playing to a 0-0 draw with JC in their opening fixture of the second round, they followed up with a 5-0 drubbing of Denham Town High before cruising past Kingston College 3-0.
Much like Group K, the group was still open entering the final round as Hydel and JC had four points while KC had three, however, Hydel's superior goal difference did the job as JC could only follow their opening game with 3-0 and 4-1 wins over KC and Denham Town respectively.
No match in this group was played during the week; therefore, the standings remain the same. St George's College with three points from their only game lead the group with Charlie Smith in second with two points from two games.
As with Group J, there were no fixtures scheduled for any of the teams in the group. The final games of this group will be played later today with Innswood High facing Norman Manley at the Prison Oval and Wolmer's Boy's coming against Bridgeport at the Constant Spring Sports Complex. Norman Manley hold four points as do Wolmer's while Innswood occupy third in the group on three. All are in with a chance to advance.
— Devaro Bolton