Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 21 footballers will be going for three points and hopefully more goals when they take on St Kitts/Nevis in the second outing in the Caribbean Football Union Under 20 qualifying competition at the Larry Gomes Stadium from 7pm.
And why the need for more goals? Simply because the T&T youths failed to put their chances away and had to settle for a 1-1 stalemate with Dominican Republic at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Wednesday. And with only one team going through to the CONCACAF Final round as automatic qualifiers, St Vincent and the Grenadines are leading the race after a 1-0 win over St Kitts/Nevis in the opening match yesterday. This now means that it could turn out as battle for points with goals telling the difference and the team that finishes second will meet the runners up from Group F (Haiti, Jamaica, Netherlands Antilles, Bermuda) in a playoff for the third CFU spot.
On Wednesday, T&T never looked a settled bunch during the first half of play as despite getting closer to goal a lot more than their opponents.
On 10 minutes, Dion Peters saw his low effort go wide of the left post and Lester Peltier also hit win with a shot on the run after 22 minutes.
The muddy conditions didn’t make play on the surface any easier and T&T eventually sneaked ahead on the stroke of halftime. After hitting two previous attempts over the mark, skipper Radanfah Abu Bakr picked his spot and executed perfectly from the top left of the box, sending the ball into the right corner for a 1-0 T&T lead going into the interval.
The second half has much more incidents but little to cheer in terms of goalmouth excitement.
Two minutes into the break, after Peltier thought he had scored from a left side cross and with almost the entire team celebrating with cross provider Aaron Downing on the left side, the assistant ruled offside and Grenadines referee George Phillip allowed the restart as the visitors charged goalwards. Fortunately, with T&T clearly outnumbered, they over-pushed the ball and goalie Adrian Foncette cleaned things up.
T&T’s next best chance came on 60 minutes when Matthew Bartholomew had his attempt saved low down by Wellinton Agramonte.
Nine minutes later, Abu Bakr was again at the centre of attention when he was on spot to head off the line after Jose Diaz’s header had Foncette clearly beaten.
With the minutes ticking away, T&T tried to keep hold of the ball and go for the second goal but neither seemed a good possibility.
The Dominicans then got their equalizer in the 77th minute . It came when referee Phillip awarded them a free kick on the right of the box after defender Marvin James was penalized for holding the ball after the assistant’s flag went up for an offense. Instead of a throw in, the visitors got the free kick and Leandro Garcia chipped it well over Foncette into the top left corner of the net.
Bartholomew had one last crack in the 85th minute when he forced the ‘keeper to push out for a corner.
Phillip also resorted to being a spectator during an altercation in the 90th minute between a couple players from both teams, deciding to back away rather than part the exchange before the assistants eventually got involved and play was restarted.
Next up, St Vincent and Dominican Republic tangle from 5pm with T&T and St Kitts dong battle from 7pm at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar.

Radanfah ABU BAKR 45’ – Leandro GARCIA 77’

TRI: Adrian Foncette – Marvin James, Corneal Thomas (63: Stefan De Las), Radanfah Abu Bakr, Devon Drayton, Khaleem Hyland (63: Atulla Guerra), Keon Daniel, Lester Peltier, Matthew Bartholomew, Aaron Downing, Dion Peters (83: Christon Thomas).

Booked: Hyland 45’

Head coach: Brian Williams.

DOM: Wellington Agramonte – Yan Carlos Berroa, Solangel Miliano (84: Inoel Navarro), Johan Sanchez, Gerson Garcia, Pablo Ceballo, Leandro Garcia, Darlin Batista, Francisco Garcia (59: Jonathon Faña), Italo Acevedo (46: Jose Rafael Diaz), Kerbi Rodriguez.

Booked: G. Garcia 9’, L. Garcia 43’, Miliano 63’, Batista 75’

Head coach: Ljubomir Cruokraj

Romano SNAGG 10’

VIN: Dwaing Peters-Sandy – Keith James, Jalonshoy McDonald, Shemol Trimmingham, Iziah Sam, Tiron Miller, Steven Henry (45: Quillian Tash), Seinard Bowens (81: Cornelius Stewart), Amon Bascombe, Romano Snagg, Ashford Forde (54: Japheti Garrick).

Booked: McDonald 35’

SKN: Alexis Richards – Javin Matthew, Lance Mason, Rovan Wigley, Tiran Hanley, Kareem Harris (Kervin Benjamin), Aaron Moses, Gerard Williams, Irandy Byron (Kevin Benjamin), Orlando Mitchum (Keshawn Warde), Matthew Berkeley.

Booked: Berkeley 30’, Williams 64’.
Williams, Abu Bakr says chances still good.
By Shaun Fuentes (TTFF).

National Under 20 team head coach Brian Williams will be looking to get more positive vibrations from his team from an offensive perspective when they face St Kitts/Nevis in their second match of the CFU U-20s qualifying round at the Larry Gomes Stadium on Friday. Williams didn’t hold any excuses towards his team’s failure to come away with full points against Dominican Republic but he did hint that maybe they were surprised by the visitors style of play.
“It was something a little strange for our players because of the lack of international exposure,” Williams said in the post match briefing. “I was pretty satisfied with the performance, I felt we could have kept the ball some more and add some more preparation in midfield. I think with the type of intimidation and quick tackling surprised us because of the lack of international competition. But we have seen what it is like and we have to look forward to the next two matches.
“The field conditions wasn’t too well and our players were sliding a bit. Keon Daniel our key playmaker was a bit off with his distribution. But I think we will regroup and come better on Friday.
“Our approach has to be a lot more positive especially in our goalscoring department. At the end of the day the goal difference will tell a big story,” Williams added. One reporter asked whether the foreign-based players meant it was harder for the team to mesh and Williams disagreed saying that he had recalled only two in Abu Bakr and Stefan De Las who had also previously trained with the team. In fact, he commended Abu Bakr on his performance, saying “Radanfah played well. He had three sessions with the team.
His reading of the game was good and his fitness level seemed pretty decent…. maybe he needs a little more covering and distribution of the ball.”
Skipper Radanfah Abu Bakr, T&T’s goalscorer on the evening, was confident his team will bounce back.
“Obviously we are disappointed to not come out with the victory. It almost seems as a loss. As everyone witnessed tonight - we played well. We defended well most of the times, a couple little errors here and there. I think maybe we were hard done by the ref once or twice but that’s the game and we will try to pick it up on Friday,” said the Kingston College student who plays in a semi-professional League where his current visa only allows for 21 hours of football action.
Now the former Caledonia AIA and Queen’s Royal College player says T&T will be going all out to represent in winning style.
“It’s always an honour to represent and furthermore to captain the team. It’s more about the team, at the end of the day it’s not any individual player comes out with the points or the goals- it’s the team. That’s what the coach has instilled in us and that’s how we play. It’s not about Radanfah or coach Brian … it’s Trinidad and Tobago,” Bakr ended.