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Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 16 footballers set the stage for a gripping closing group encounter with Haiti on Friday as they came away with a less than pretty 4-0 victory over Suriname on Wednesday at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
The win put the young “Soca Warriors” second in Group A with four points, two less than Haiti who trounced Barbados 4-0 but with a win on Friday at Larry Gomes Stadium, they will move to seven points and top the group which will push them through to Sunday’s Final against the winners of Group B being contested in Tobago. In Wednesday's games there, Jamaica and Panama battled to a 1-1 draw while Mexico overcame Canada 2-1. Mexico (6pts) and Jamaica (4pts) will clash on Friday at the same Dwight Yorke Stadium. The top two teams from the Caribbean along with Jamaica will go through to the CONCACAF final round of qualification.
Needing to secure full points after Monday’s dull 1-1 draw with Barbados, the T&T lads had the best possible start, taking the lead through Stephen Knox after just 41 seconds into the match. It came from a play up the right side which saw Daneil Cyrus connect with Sheldon Bateau and he played inside for an alert Knox to slide home. It was just the start T&T wanted and the fans were off their chairs. But the going after that wasn’t the same as both teams struggled to get their game on and the heavy field conditions didn’t make it any easier, particularly being the second game played on the surface for the evening.
The local side was also playing without playmaker Leston Paul who was ruled out with damaged knee ligaments and is fighting to be ready for Sunday’s match, once T&T goes through either as winners or runners up of their group.
That forced coach Anton Corneal to start with midfielder Sean De Silva but even his smart play and touches could cause much of a stir as Suriname, though demoralized previously by Haiti, were putting up a decent fight on the evening.
The Dutch-speaking boys actually had the next best chance when Olvido Misidjan’s free kick from the top left of the box beat goalie Jesse Fullerton, crashing off the cross bar in the 13th minute.
Then on 29 minutes escaped when Fullerton advanced in attempt of claiming a bouncing delivery on the edge of the box and Jorden Chan Jetsoe got there before him only to see Bateau desperately clearing the ball inches off the line. The only other chance for T&T before the break was a Marcus Joseph effort which went straight to ‘keeper Obrendo Dollart in the 38th.
The second half continued must in the same pattern as the first as both teams had little to offer once they moved inwards into the opposition’s half and that type of football was nothing but frustrating for the 3,000 odd fans on hand. Only the enthusiastic drummers and horn blowers seemed to be adding some tempo to the evening’s encounter.
Suriname then got the killer blow as though being only a second goal, because of the run of the game up to then, it was hardly likely anyone would put their money on a comeback for them.
On 63 minutes, Knox’s header was tipped over and from De Silva’s left side corner on the near post, Daniel Joseph nodded home from close up to leave T&T ahead 2-0 after 64 minutes.
Suriname went close seven minutes later when Giovanni Drenthe had Fullerton saving low. It was a rare test for the skipper who had earlier looked a bit shaky as his team struggled to break away from their opponents.
But he and everyone else in T&T’s corner were able to breathe a bit easier when a well floated in right side free kick from Jean Luc Rochford was powerfully headed into the net by substitute Kevin Molino. And then the fourth goal when Knox was taken down and he finished it off with a well driven penalty in the 80th minute.

Haitians keep dancing.

The Haitian team players were again a smiling bunch, dancing as the celebrated their goals and made their way off the pitch following a comfortable 4-0 win over Barbados. Alcine Samuel got the first item and St Victor Ulteruens made it 2-0 as the Haitians took charge. Normil Valdo pushed the advantage to 3-0 on 64 minutes and then Samuel got the final goal in the 76th minute when he was sent through and hammered past goalie Dario Weir. Next up they face T&T at the Larry Gomes Stadium from 5pm on Friday. Suriname will take on Barbados from 3pm at the same venue.

Teams —

Trinidad & Tobago: -
Jesse Fullerton (capt); Robert Primus, Ryan O’Neil, Sheldon Bateau (Jean Luc Rochford 56th), Brenton Balbosa; Chike Sullivan, Marcus Joseph (Kevin Molino 60th), Daneil Cyrus, Sean De Silva (Chad De Freitas 69th); Stephen Knox, Daniel Joseph.

Suriname: - Obrendo Dollart; Giovanni Alleyne, Jetro Fer, Orvio Wirip (Quincy Alvares 60th), Giovanni Pique; Miguel Cronie (capt) (Murwayn Darson 78th), Jorden Jetsoe, Teghan Pools (Anduelo Makandra 33rd), Olvido Misidjan; Ivanildo Chobin, Giovanni Drenthe.

Final Result:

T&T 4 (Stephen Knox 01st, 80th-pen, Daniel Joseph 64th, Kevin Molino) v Suriname 0.

Haiti 4 (Alcine Samuel 2, St Victor Ulteruens, Normil Valdo) v Barbados 0.