|Puerto Rico||Trinidad & Tobago|
|Kerry Baptiste (pen 51')|
Seon Power (71')
|2008-01-26||Juan Lobriel Stadium||Bayamón, Puerto Rico||0|
T&T recover from two goals down
Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Footballers showed some fight in front of newly appointed interim head coach Francisco Maturana to come from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 draw with Puerto Rico at the Juan Romel Stadium on Saturday night.With Maturana observing from the stands, the T&T team, with two debutants in its starting team, Akile Edwards and Khaleem Hyland, were left shockingly 2-0 behind after 33 minutes. But a gritty second half showing with goals from Kerry Baptiste and a 70th minute equalizer from Joe Public defender Seon Power help T&T avoid defeat in its friendly which served as a warm up to the February 6 friendly international in Port of Spain against Guadeloupe.
For that encounter the “Soca Warriors” are expected to have some of its overseas pros spearheaded by Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones but on Saturday night there was much for Maturana and Anton Corneal to assess as the team, comprising of mostly home-based pros allowed the homeside to take charge in the first half.
The Puerto Ricans, preparing for next month’s World Cu qualifier against Dominican Republic, actually had the first two tries at goal inside the opening ten minutes. Peter Villegas ran on to hit a loose ball over bar from the inside right of the penalty box. Soon after Andres Cabrera volleyed over bar from a left side cross. Taylor Graham’s header also bounced over the top from a left side corner
T&T allowed the Puerto Ricans to hustle around and took just over a quarter hour to settle down. The visitors first bit of inroad into the opposition goal came when Edwards played one into the box for Anthony Wolfe but an alert Josh Saunders was quickly off his line to close down the attack
The opening goal arrived after a long clearance down the park from goalie Saunders led to Graham winning the header, allowing Kupono Low to latch on and hit low past Marvin Phillip.
Near the half hour mark, Hyland got up well to meet a Baptiste right side cross but his header on the far post was pushed over. Moments later Wolfe failed to get enough on an incoming right side delivery from Baptiste.
Soon after Puerto Rico got their second goal when Villegas’ free kick into the area from the right was nodded down by an unmarked Graham and Chris Mesaloudis was on spot to push the ball past an advancing Phillip from the six yard.
T&T upped their game in the second half and put the home team under pressure for longer periods. Andre Toussaint replaced Anthony Wolfe and it wasn’t too long after that T&T got a penalty for a handle ball inside the area. Baptiste stepped up and calmly put the ball into the left of the net as skipper Trent Noel and his men got just what they had been in search of. Meantime the backline marshaled by Osei Telesford with support from Keston Williams, Power and Edwards kept things on the opposite end.
T&T pressed and got a deserved equalizer when Power took his time to head down into the right of the net after a right side cross was played in for him.
Young Jabloteh striker Lester Peltier also came on in the second half, making his debut as well, and had a couple chances on goal. Toussaint also had an ambitions long range effort which dipped after it went over bar.
The team is scheduled in on Sunday night and will resume training next week leading into the Guadeloupe game. The overseas pros are carded to start arriving from next Sunday.
Maturana looks ahead
Anton Corneal, Assistant coach of the National Team, who was in charge for the 2-2 draw with Puerto Rico, said he was pleased only with the second half showing, describing the exercise as an eye opener for the players.
“It was an eye opener for some of the players and they will see the importance of starting the game the right way and at the right speed. They executed their set plays better than we did. But the second half was a lot better and we saw a team coming back with two goals and looking good to get a couple more,” Corneal told TTFF Media.
“It’s a result we have to live with and we knew we wanted to use all our subs in this game which we did. We saw some heart from the younger ones and we were able to give them a chance to break into the international game before they reach 25 or 26.”
Having held discussions with interim head coach Francisco Maturana, Corneal explained: “He’s already looking ahead and is looking to see which of these players can mesh with the overseas pros. He was pleased with the heart from the players in this game.”
The Colombian-born coach added: “I think there was some fight in the second half and we will see how we can get the team ready with all the players for the next game. It is important that the players are always healthy and that means they must always have a lot of heart and the right attitude. We will work from here to get it right.”
|75' Kern Cupid|
|68' Stephan David|
|7.||Trent Noel (capt.)|
|64' Nickolson Thomas|
|46' Christian Baptiste|
|46' Lester Peltier|
|58' Andre Toussaint|
|46'||Lester Peltier for Conrad Smith|
|46'||Christian Baptiste for Jason Marcano|
|58'||Andre Toussaint for Anthony Wolfe|
|64'||Nickolson Thomas for Kerry Baptiste|
|68'||Stephan David for Khaleem Hyland|
|75'||Kern Cupid for Aklie Edwards|