Trinidad and Tobago’s Under-20 footballers returned home yesterday morning after a narrow loss against their Brazilian counterparts in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela on Sunday.
The Zoran Vranes-coached TT outfit led the Brazilians 2-0 after 61 minutes before conceding heavily in a chaotic closing ten minutes.
After Leston Paul had put TT ahead on 44 minutes and striker Juma Clarence doubled the advantage on 61, they crumbled against the South Americans.
It all happened when Vranes was red carded for dissent by the referee with TT leading 2-0. Defender Uriah Bentick was also given marching orders.
The Brazilians pulled a goal back from the penalty spot through Fluminense forward Alan and two goals followed in quick succession in the closing five minutes from forward Ciro and Paranaense midfielder Gabriel Pimba. The Brazilian technical staff led by coach Rogerio Lourenco afterwards congratulated the TT contingent for their efforts, according to team manager Chris De Silva.
“It was a hard game because Brazil is Brazil no matter when or where you play them,” Vranes said afterwards.
The Brazilians team included only a couple changes to first team that won all their previous matches in the Puerto Rico Hexagonal. Among their starters were Paranaense midfielder Raul, Gremio defender Saimon, Corinthians midfield duo Bruno Bertucci and Rafael Boquita, Botafogo midfielder Wellington Junior and midfielder Anselmo of Palmeiras.
“Tactically we played very well and I thought our guys came back very nicely after losing the early matches. We settled in well after two or three games but I think we still have to understand how to protect our goals a little bit smarter and better. If we could do that then maybe we would have won this game against Brazil ,” Vranes said.
“I got red card because to me it was obvious that the referee tried to help Brazil in the second half and he was not happy when I protested. They got a very soft penalty. When I went out and then Bentick was sent off too, I think maybe our boys got a little bit scared after they scored the first goal and things fell apart for us near the end. It was a lack of experience as we probably used to think too that we cannot beat a team like Brazil .
“But my point is that we showed that we can play and compete well against tough opponents. Our game against Paraguay was poor because we were playing against their style of football which our players were not accustomed to and it threw us off a bit. We were not accustomed to their way of challenging and the referee allowed a lot of rough play to go on during the game.”
When asked whether he was worried about TT’s tendency to settle in only in the latter stages of tournaments and tours, particularly with only three matches scheduled for the Group stage at the FIFA World Championship in Egypt , Vranes pointed out that only a continuous programme will solve that problem
“We will catch up and solve this problem. The problem we had is that when we came back from the last tour (far east), we did not play any games and our programme fell back a little so then it took us a little time to get back accustomed to playing against higher quality opponents.
“But we went to Venezuela and after two or three matches we were playing at a high intensity. I am confident though that this will continue because the Federation has set up some more games and tours for us and we should be ready to start well by the time the tournament in Egypt comes up,” Vranes concluded.
T&T Line-Up: - 1.Glenroy Samuel, 19.Daneil Cyrus, 15.Uriah Bentick, 5.Akeem Adams (2.Aubrey David 86th), 12.Robert Primus (18.Mikeil Williams), 4.Sheldon Bateau (Curtis Gonzales), 14.Jean Luc Rochford (16.Marcus Joseph 46th), 6.Leston Paul (c), 8.Sean De Silva (7.Chike Sullivan 83rd), 10.Qian Grosvenor, 11.Trent Lougheed.
Brazil Team From: - Rafael; Douglas, Rafael Tolói, Renan, Juan; Diogo, Raúl, Anselmo, Cunha, Wellington Júnior, Gabriel Pimba, Boquita, Alan, Tinga, Ciro, Roberson, Bruno Bertucci, Tales Henrique.
Final Score: - T&T 2 v Brazil 3
Other Results From Sunday: - Costa Rica 2 v Paraguay 0; Venezuela A 6 v Venezuela B 1.
Monday Results & Final Game: - Brazil 2 v Venezuela 0.
Brazil edges T&T Under-20s.
T&T Guardian Reports.
T&T Under-20 footballers returned home yesterday a somewhat satisfied bunch after ending a five-match tour to South America with a narrow 3–2 loss to Brazil Under-20s in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela on Sunday.
It was the final match of tournament for T&T who are preparing for the Fifa Under-20 World Cup Finals in Egypt from September 24 to October 16. In Egypt, the young Soca Warriors will face the host country, Paraguay and Italy in their three group matches. On Sunday, the Zoran Vranes-coached, young Soca Warriors outfit, led the world giants 2–0 after 61 minutes before conceding heavily in a chaotic closing ten minutes. T&T captain Leston Paul fired his team ahead after 44 minutes and striker Juma Clarence made it 2–0 in the 61st.
However, the match turned on its head when Vranes was red carded for dissent by the referee, while defender Uriah Bentick, soon followed, to leave T&T to play the rest of the match with ten players. The Brazilians pulled a goal back from the penalty spot through Fluminense forward Alan and two goals followed in quick succession in the closing five minutes from forward Ciro and Paranaense midfielder Gabriel Pimba. “It was a hard game because Brazil is Brazil no matter when or where you play them,” Vranes said.
The Brazil starting team against T&T included only a couple changes to the Brazilian first team that had won all its previous matches in the Puerto Rico Hexagonal. “Tactically, we played very well and I thought our guys came back very nicely after losing the early matches. We settled in well after two or three matches but I think we still have to understand how to protect our goals a little bit smarter and better.” Vranes said.