Second-half substitute Pascal Millien scored in the 83rd minute to lift Haiti to a dramatic 1-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago and into 2016 Copa America Centenario in a CONCACAF play-in match Friday at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez.Goalkeeper Steward Ceus produced several key saves to keep the Haitians in the match as he registered a clean sheet.
On the winning goal, Millen delivered a right-wing cross into the penalty area intended for Kervens Belfort. The Turkey-based forward missed on an attempt to get his foot on the ball, which bounced past goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams and rolled just inside the left post.
The Soca Warriors had a few opportunities to take a first-half lead. Haiti goalkeeper Steward Ceus, however, punched away Khaleem Hyland's shot from inside the penalty area in the 17th minute and produced a two-handed save three minutes into first-half stoppage.
Ceus misjudged a corner kick by Hyland in the 19th minute, but Joevin Jones could only get off a shot that traveled wide right of the goal and was cleared by the defense.
The Haitians' did not threaten the T&T net much. In the 28th minute, Jean-Eudes Maurice produced a low, hard shot that Williams handled easily.
In the second half, after some nifty passing around the box, Hyland fired a 12-yard shot that Ceus stopped on the hour mark.
Three minutes later, Haiti’s Soni Mustivar fired his attempt wide right.
Copa America Centenario, which will be held in the United States from June 3-26, will include 16 teams from South America and CONCACAF.
Panama and Cuba will meet in the second game of the doubleheader for the tournament’s last berth.
Haiti 1 v T&T 0
Panama 4 v Cuba 0
Radanfah Abu Bakr (31’); Soni Mustivar (7’), Jean Alexandre (54’)
Trinidad and Tobago: 21. Jan-Michael Williams (capt.); 17. Mekeil Williams, 6. Radanfah Abu Bakr, 12. Carlyle Mitchell, 5. Daneil Cyrus, 3. Joevin Jones, 8. Khaleem Hyland, 14. Andre Boucaud, 19. Kevan George (15. Neveal Hackshaw 78’), 23. Lester Peltier, 7. Jonathan Glenn (10. Shahdon Winchester 56’)
Unused: 1. Marvin Phillip, 22. Adrian Foncette, 2. Aubrey David, 18. Yohance Marshall, 13. Cordell Cato, 11. Ataulla Guerra, 20. Trevin Caesar, 9. Rundell Winchester
Coach: Stephen Hart
Haiti: 1. Steward Ceus; 6. Frantz Bertin, 5. Alex Christian, 3. Mechack Jerome, 2. Stephane Lambese, 13. Kevin La France (15. Sebastian Thuriere 52’), 19. Max Hilaire, 14. Soni Mustivar (11. Pascal Millien 56’), 16. Jean Alexandre (capt.), 10. Jean Maurice (18. Judelin Aveska 87’), 9. Kervens Belfort
Unused: 12. Luis Odelus, 4. Kim Jaggy, 7. Sony Norde, 8. Wedson Anselme, 17. Woodenski Cherenfant, 23. Jaafson Origene, 22. Junior Delva, 21. Junior Monuma
Coach: Patrice Neveu
Referee: David Gantar (Canada)
HIGHLIGHTS - T&T vs Haiti
Haiti eliminates T&T from Copa America Centenario.
By Shaun Fuentes (TTFA).
Trinidad and Tobago Senior Men’s Team had their Copa America Centenario hopes dashed after a 1-0 defeat to Haiti in the play-in match at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City on Friday night.
A goal in the 84th minute by Kervens Belfort lifted Haiti past the “Soca Warriors” to see them join Panama as the last two teams to qualify for the Copa America after the hosts comfortably got past Cuba 4-0 in the second game of the double header on the evening.
The performance by the Jan-Michael Williams captained outfit was a far cry from the recent string of brighter displays which saw T&T rise into the top 50 teams on the FIFA ranking, as they struggled to take hold of the game.Despite a few proper goalscoring chances on either side of the break, they never managed to really stamp their authority on the affair.
Iceland-based forward Jonathan Glenn got the starting nod in the absence of Kenwyne Jones, who was missing due to club commitments and with Keron Cummings also out of the mix (due to his gunshot wound), Stephen Hart opted for the trio of Andre Boucaud, Kevan George and Khaleem Hyland all occupying the midfield with Lester Peltier on the right and Joevin Jones on the left. Also missing was Willis Plaza, out with a dislocated shoulder, Justin Hoyte through injury and Sheldon Bateau who was not released by his club in Russia. Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino was also out of the mix as he continues his recovery from ACL surgery, so too Hughtun Hector.
Haiti hardly troubled the T&T side during the opening period of the match but they appeared to be more hungry as the game progressed. Glenn didn’t do much to jostle the Haitian backline except for a run-in to a left side delivery where he saw his effort go over bar but the assistant had raised his flag for offside. Hyland did have couple good tries at goal forcing Haitian custodian Steward Ceus to save.
Haiti lifted their game in the second half as they began believing more. And Williams and his backline were being given more to do to keep them at bay. Williams pulled off a superb save to deny Belfort in a one on one in the 78th.
Substitute Shahdon Winchester, who turned 24 on the day, entered the match and brought some life to the T&T attack. He laid one off for Hyland by the Belgium-based player couldn’t’ get enough on his low effort. Winchester then failed to connect cleanly with a right side delivery by Lester Peltier who made some penetrating runs and was able to get some crosses into the Haitian penalty box.
But Belfort would get the winning touch as he got the slightest of touches on a ball coming in from the right on the near post to elude a hapless Williams in goal.
Mere moments later T&T were unlucky not to get the equalizer when Jones’ left side ball was deflected by Jean-Marc Alexandre but Ceus produced a brilliant one handed save to push it over bar. Boucaud also had a late effort which failed to trouble the ‘keeper.
T&T head coach Stephen Hart described the result as extremely disappointing but did not make excuses for the less than firing display from his team.
“At the end of the day the responsibility lies with me. I am the one responsible for having them mentally, physically, tactically prepared. Tonight we lacked that sort of conviction, we did not penetrate and we didn’t move the ball fast enough,” Hart told TTFA Media.
“Even though we did have some chances it still was not enough to put Haiti under pressure and then to lose on a goal of that nature,. It is a very bitter pill to swallow. We let down the country tonight,” Hart added
“Every game regardless of your opponent, if you don’t do what you are supposed to do in terms of taking charge of the game, managing the game and taking care of the ball and you let the other team begin to get some confidence, anything can happen, especially if you don’t score when you get your opportunities.
“No team dominates for 90 minutes and in your period of domination you have to take your chances because you know the other team is going to get at least one or two chances.
“This is a one off opportunity and this is the ‘sixth’ time we have had the opportunity to qualify for this tournament but we have not and that is the reality of it. Now it’s a matter of clean sheet and fighting in March to get six points (in the two World Cup qualifiers versus St Vincent/Grenadines).
Watch Stephen Hart’s Post Match Reactions
Watch Radanfah Abu Bakr’s Reactions