Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 23 footballers will have to play their final Group B Olympic qualifier going for a win after being held to a 1-1 draw by Curacao in their second match at Windsor Park on Thursday night.
T&T could not achieve their second straight win, despite playing against a Curacao team that was reduced to nine men in the second half.
Midfielder Marcus Joseph put T&T ahead in the 58th minute but Curacao leveled four minutes later. T&T's goal came when substitute Kaydion Gabriel evaded the challenges of three players on the right before crossing for Joseph to slot home from close up.
Curacao started aggressively and had two players booked inside the opening five minutes of the match as they tried to unsettle Angus Eve's men. Joseph had the first try at goal for T&T, a low left footer which went past the upright.
T&T looked organized and intent on getting the go ahead goal but Curacao didn’t back down and began to create chances of their own as the first half progressed with T&T goalie Andre Marchan being called into action much more than he was in the opening 1-0 win over Grenada.
After Joseph got the opener, T&T were brought back down to earth when their opponents hit back soon after, setting up a tight finish. But the Curacao players made lives harder for themselves with the two ejections which should have opened the channels for T&T to surge ahead. But that was not to be as Curacao stuck it out to earn their third point.
T&T captain Sheldon Bateau admitted his disappointment with result.
“We should have won this game but we did not take the chances. It came down to chances in the end. After Marcus scored we should have stretched the lead.
I thought we had more possession but the scores are even at the end of 90 minutes and we have to take a point only. This means we have everything to play for on Saturday and the other game will be interesting too,” Bateau told TTFF Media.
“We have the capability to get through this round but we need to finish better and stamp our authority in these matches,” he added.
Grenada defeated Dominica 2-0 in the second game on Thursday which means that they too will be up for their encounter against Curacao on Saturday.
Curacao top the group currently ahead of T&T on goal difference. Only one team will advance to the next stage. T&T's clash with Dominica on Saturday kicks off at 7pm.
Trinidad and Tobago: 1.Andre Marchan, 2.Aubrey David, 3.Mekeil Williams, 4.Sheldon Bateau (capt), 5.Aquil Selby, 6.Leslie Russell, 11.Sean De Silva, 14.Marcus Joseph (16.Cameron Roget 76th), 12.Jayson Joseph (7.Phillip Borde 84th), 13.Jeromie Williams (Yellow 17), 9.Trevin Caesar (17.Kaydion Gabriel 53rd).
Unused Subs: 8.Uriah Bentik, 15.Kareem Moses, 18.Zane Coker.
Coach: Angus Eve.
Curacao: Elfried Weyman, Bryan Anastacia, Glenciéne Gregoria (Yellow 3, Red 60), Joël Victoria (Yellow 5), Gedeon Poppen (Red 73), Shurwendel Roosje (Jerachmeël Cleofa 63rd), Ivanny Calvenhoven, Shanon Carmelia, Charles Martina (Shurvey Delando 83rd), Elson Hooi, Daymon Lodovica (Mirco Colina 54th).
Referee: James Matthew (St Kitts).