Soccer  > General Soccer  > Joe Public returns to Group Stage
August 6, 2010, 11:45 AM
MACOYA, Trinidad - Kerry Baptiste scored for a second time in eight days and led Joe Public to a 4-2 victory over Brujas Thursday night that sent the Trinidadian side into the Group Stage of the CONCACAF Champions League.

It was the second time in three years that Joe Public has advanced out of the Preliminary Round, winning 6-4 on aggregate to enter Group B along with the Columbus Crew, Municipal and Santos Laguna.

Baptiste scored with a 25-meter effort in the eighth minute to inspire Joe Public, who stunned the New England Revolution 6-1 on aggregate in 2008 to reach the league phase.

Brujas had the better of play and chances early, limiting Joe Public to only a moment of possession in the offensive third in the first seven minutes. But less than a minute later, Baptiste took a ball from Hayden Tinto 30 meters from goal, turned and took one touch before launching a right-footed shot that streaked into the upper right corner.

Carlyle Mitchell and Micah Lewis added goals in the 39th and fourth minute of first-half injury time to all but end Brujas' hopes.

Joe Public will try to avenge its last trip to the Group Stage, where it lost five of six games and was outscored 15-3.

Brujas, which lost both its opening games in the Costa Rican Apertura - including Sunday's 5-2 defeat to Puntarenas, has not won in 12 competitive matches, dating back to a 4-2 league victory over Herediano on March 6.

It took the initiative from the opening kickoff, sending a cross through the goal box in the second minute, testing Joe Public keeper Glenroy Samuel with a cross into the area by Andres Nunez in the fourth minute and creating two corner kicks in the first six minutes.

But Baptiste's goal with Joe Public's first foray at goal changed the momentum. Despite a header off the crossbar by Bryan Vega in the 30th, Joe Public doubled its lead eight minutes laster.

Trent Noel - whose goal in injury time last week gave Joe Public a 2-2 draw in Costa Rica - lofted a free kick into the area, where Mitchell leaped unmarked to knock it down past keeper Danny Carvajal, who had come off his line but failed to reach the ball.

Lewis appeared to put Joe Public comfortably ahead just before halftime, taking a couple of touches of a ball served to him by Jevon Morris, getting a fortunate bounce into the area and getting one final touch under Carvajal.

Yosimar Arias converted from a deflected free kick on the edge of the arc to pull Brujas within 3-1 in the 63rd, and Nunez added a penalty 72nd after Keion Goodridge was called for shoving Christian Lagos as the Brujas substitute raced to get on to the end of a cross by Yendrik Ruiz.

But Andre Toussaint ended Brujas' last hopes four minutes later, easily knocking in a ball slowly rolled across the area by Lewis.

Joe Public will open the Group Stage at home on August 18 against Santos Laguna.

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