Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 20 footballers dug deep to come from a goal down and finish the closing minutes a man short to secure a 2-1 victory over Suriname in the opening leg of their final Caribbean Football Union World Cup qualifier in Paramaribo on Friday night.
Captain Sheldon Bateau struck the winning goal in the 59th minute after Suriname got the go ahead goal after only 11 minutes. T&T found the going tough against a tricky Surinamese outfit that was eager to make good their home advantage in the opening match.
But T&T never allowed them to get too far in front and got a deserved equalizer on the stroke of half time from Joe Public midfielder Marcus Joseph.
But unlike their previous tie when they ran all over St Vincent/Grenadines, T&T had to pull out all the stops in this encounter. Eventually Bateau was on target but it was far from over as Ryan Fredericks was giving marching orders in the 82nd minute causing an intense closing to the keenly contested affair.
Defenders Joevin Jones and Akeem Adams who were making their first appearances for the campaign had it all to do at the back to ensure T&T didn’t give up the lead while goalkeeper John Thomas also held firm between the uprights.
At the final whistle, the young “Soca Warriors” were 2-1 winners and will be more than happy to have the final leg at home in the Marvin Lee Stadium on December 20.
Coach Zoran Vranes didn’t hesitate to credit his team’s opponents.
“I said before the match that I didn’t expect this game to be easy and Suriname proved me right. We had to work very hard for the victory tonight,” Vranes told TTFF Media.
“Suriname were very different to St Vincent and I’m pleased with the way we played to the end because this kind of match is important for my players if we are to go to the next stage in Concacaf because the competition there will be much tougher and tonight I saw my players hold on nicely for a victory.”
“We made it hard for ourselves in the closing minutes because of being a man short but this is how football is sometimes.. .you must be ready to play under any circumstance and I saw us finish well enough to get the victory and that was most important for us here in Suriname.
Now we have to prepare for the next match in Trinidad and hopefully we will have a full squad available to prepare for it because I think it’s going to be another hard contest for us,” Vranes ended.
Once T&T come away victorious from this tie they will move on to the Concacaf Final Round in Guatemala next year towards the 2011 FIFA Under 20 World Cup in Colombia.
Final: - Suriname 1 (Victorinio Pinas 11) v Trinidad and Tobago 2 (Marcus Joseph 45, Sheldon Bateau 59)
Suriname: - Firgilio Lamsberg, Giovanni Asabiegie (Kevin Viera 56th), Gillermo Faerber (Yellow 31), Albert Nibte, Rocky Kaise, Olvido Misidjan, Daninhio Gill (Yellow 31) (Kevin Martin 71st), Victorinio Pinas, Jerny Faerber, Stefano Rijssel (Kevin Monsanto 74th), Daniel Avianko (Yellow 52).
Trinidad & Tobago: - John Thomas, Sheldon Bateau (capt) (Yellow 68), Akeem Adams, Joevin Jones, Akil Clarke, Dinell Lopez (Shahdon Winchester 71st), Dwight Ceballo, Marcus Joseph (Cordell Cato 79th), Johan Peltier, Kenaz Williams (Ryan Frederick 63rd - Yellow 76, Red 82), Jerrel Britto.
Unused Subs: - Jamaal Francois, Kevin Raymond, Weslie John.
Venue: - André-Kamperveen-Stadion, Paramaribo.
Referee: - Stanley Lancaster (Guyana).