Trinidad and Tobago’s National Under 23 footballers pulled off a superb 4-0 victory over hosts Dominica at Windsor Park to advance in the Olympic qualifying tournament on Saturday night.
Second half substitute Trevin Caesar was the hero for Angus Eve’s team with a timely double in the 71st and 83rd minutes as T&T went into the match needing to win by four clear goals in order to finish ahead of Curacao which defeated Grenada 2-0 in the earlier encounter.
T&T dominated from the opening whistle with a business-like approach but were unfortunate not to be comfortably ahead by half time after missing numerous chances, hitting the post on two occasions.
US-based forward Cameron Roget put T&T ahead in the 34th minute with an acrobatic finish as T&T got the much needed opener and the players hurried back into their positions as they went in search of further items.
And on the stroke of half time Sean De Silva’s thunderous effort was saved by the Dominican goalkeeper before the resulting corner came off the woodwork.
T&T started the second half in typical style, throwing numbers into attack and occupying Dominica’s half for long periods But the goals wouldn’t come as the hosts lived dangerously and looked to upset T&T against the run of play.
Then Caesar came up big, delivering the goods with two clinical finishes in the 71st and 83rd minutes to lead T&T to the 4-0 advantage and make Windsor T&T’s own palace as the home fans began cheering on Angus Eve’s men
The ever solid Marcus Joseph put T&T ahead 3-0 with a neat finish in the 80th minute. The likes of Kaydion Gabriel, Sean De Silva and Marcus Joseph were the stalwarts in the T&T team which was well led at the back by defender and captain Sheldon Bateau.
“It’s a tremendous victory for the team and the players deserve full credit for their efforts tonight. It was not easy needing to win by four goals and then going into the break at 1-0 at half time,” Eve told TTFF Media after the win.
“It was a tough hurdle to cross but we never gave up hope. We believed in ourselves and we kept at it. The guys knew we had a job to take care of and the coaching staff would like to thank them for the way they went about it.
It’s never easy especially when you are not taking chances and then having to go down to the wire. But we kept our nerves and thankfully we did what was required of us and now we have to keep on building for the next stage of the tournament,” Eve added.
T&T will now advance to the CFU final round with the four group winners in November at a venue to be determined. The top two teams will move on to the CONCACAF final round in the United States in early 2012.
Had the scores remained 3-0 in T&T’s favour, they would have had to meet Curacao in a one-match playoff on Sunday to determine the group winners but Bateau said it his boys were determined to get the desired result
“This is a big victory for us tonight. I told the guys big times or no times,” skipper Bateau said.
“But this is only half the journey. We have another round to finish and then it’s on to CONCACAF. We need to remain focus and finish the job. I was really pleased with the way everyone fought hard tonight to dig out this result.
Even with the clock running down we never gave up and the goals came in good time for us. This is real boost for us,” Bateau ended. The T&T team will return home on Monday.
Trinidad & Tobago: 1.Andre Marchan, 3.Mekeil Williams, 4.Sheldon Bateau (capt), 5.Aquil Selby, 6.Leslie Russell, 8.Uriah Bentik, 11.Sean De Silva (12.Jayson Joseph 68th), 14.Marcus Joseph, 15.Kareem Moses, 17.Kaydion Gabriel (Jeromie Williams 77th), 16.Cameron Roget (9.Trevin Caesar 66th).
Unused Subs: 2.Aubrey David, 18.Zane Coker, 7.Phillip Borde.
Coach: Angus Eve.
GP W D L F A D PTS
Trinidad & Tobago 3 2 1 0 6 1 +5 7
Curaçao 3 2 1 0 5 1 +4 7
Grenada 3 1 0 2 2 3 -1 3
Dominica 3 0 0 3 0 8 -8 0