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#11 - Micah Lewis on the attackThursday it was the Women and Friday it was Men’s time to put on another praiseworthy display as they held  Mexico to a 1-1 draw before a partisan 35,000 home crowd  at the Omnilife Stadium, Guadalajara.

Praiseworthy not based on the fact that the hosts hit the woodwork three times as skipper Sheldon Bateau and his teammates braced the Mexican wave but because they defied the odds to earn a valuable point against a CONCACAF giant on their home soil on an evening when naturally the neutral fan would have expected T&T to be licking its wounds at the end.

Jamal Gay stunned the hosts and silenced the fans when he clinically side footed home from close range after Micah Lewis blew past his man before squaring for the lurking striker in the 12th minute.

“I thought it was a really good result for us tonight. We came here against the host team who were obvious favourites and we defied the odds by holding them to a draw,” Angus Eve told TTFF Media after the match.

“It was a remarkable effort by the guys. We played to plan, we maintained our disciplined and we held them off because they came at us with everything in search of a winner because it was important for them to win this match.

"I saw this as a very valuable experience for the players because it was a hostile atmosphere in the stadium but we were never intimidated.

We kept our focus throughout the match and I thought we competed well which is some of the things I was looking to see us accomplish here in preparation for the Olympic qualifiers"

Goalscorer Gay added : “We knew we had to start well if we were to be in with a chance of a good result tonight. Everyone knows that Mexico is a dangerous team and they can dominate you if they get on top  early.

They came at us but we also withstood their pressure well. I’m really proud of our effort and hopefully we can carry on from here for the remaining games.

Scoring so early against Mexico was a feeling that any striker would want to experience and I felt that tonight. “

Defender Joel Russell mentioned that Eve helped the players to mentally prepare for the battle at hand.

“Coach Angus helped motivate us He made us believe in ourselves and believe that we could do it,” said Russell.

“I  thought the key factor was working for each other. We were not afraid to play and we did our homework on the Mexican team.”

T&T began the affair like a team on a mission and certainly far from overawed by the occasion.

On 24 seconds, number ten Kevin Molino, evidently outstanding for Eve's men during the 94 minutes, had a crack at goal which went over bar. Seven minutes later the T&T senior team and Orlando City midfielder laid one off for Sheldon Bateau and he drove one wide of the upright from 25 metres out.

But the Mexicans soon got into their own and they rattled the T&T crossbar when Oribe Peralta’s header seemed to be goal bound on ten minutes.

Peralta and fellow forward Iganacio  Aquino were at  the heart of every Mexican attack and was handful for the T&T defense but Russell and company battled everything that came at them.

T&T’s goal arrived when the confident Molino turned and precisely laid one off for Lewis on the left and the Caledonia AIA player slipped past his man before cutting back for Gay to nail home with his right foot.

Mexico  appeared shell shocked but they never panicked even though it took them a further ten minutes before they threatened the T&T goal.

Then on 23 minutes,Peralta found himself with loads of space on the right of the box and got past the advancing goalkeeper Andre Marchan before banging his low shot off the near post.

Then a slow reaction by one of the T&T defenders allowed Mexico to recover an attack on the right of the box and Aquino picked out Peralta who did the rest, turning and perfectly directing a left footer into the left corner of the net to send the fans into a frenzy on the half hour mark.

Mexican Isaac Brizuela forced Marchan into action in the 34th minute and a late first half assault in search of the go ahead goal forced the T&T back line to keep dropping off.

Seven minutes before the break T&T survived a scare when Peralta again got his head to a cross from the right but the ball bounced off the crossbar and back into play.

As the second half progressed, T&T  kept the Mexicans at bay for the opening 15 minutes, allowing nothing to go astray while also doing more to take the game into the Mexican final third. Molino controlled most of T&T’s play.

Gay was pressuring high most times and on one instance, almost punished the hosts when he won possession and headed goalwards but shot wide under pressure from his man.

Marchan came up big to deny Arturo Amione in the 73rd and moments later Bateau decided to try his luck from long range but to no avail.

But Mexico kept coming. Ten minutes from the end, Marchan was called upon again, this time doing well to block Roberto Bocanegra’s effort.

Gay had to leave the field due to a head injury after a clash of heads and was replaced by Trevin Caesar.

T&T did not go into panic mode in the closing moments as Mexico threw everything in search of the go ahead goal.

When the final whistle went, the reaction from the T&T contingent was one of satisfaction for having held the hosts from running away with a result.

The fans jeered at the end as they came expecting nothing less than a convincing victory from their boys.

Not much to celebrate for them in the end but they still managed to sing merrily in Mexican style in huge numbers as they exited the Stadium, perhaps celebrating  in the spirit of the Pan American Games thus far.

VIDEO Highlights l Click Here

Teams

Mexico: Jose de Jesus Corona, Cesar Ibañez, Diego Antonio Reyes (Ricardo Bocanegra 76th), Miguel Angel Ponce, Nestor Araujo, Javier Ignacio Aquino, Jesus Zavala, Jorge Enriquez, Isaac Brizuela (Carlos Orrantia 66th), Othoniel Arce (Jeronimo Arturo Amione 66th), Oribe Peralta.

Coach: Luis Fernando Tena.

Trinidad and Tobago: Andre Marchan (Yellow 90), Kareem Moses, Aquil Selby, Joevin Jones, Leslie Russell, Mekeil Williams (Jeromie Williams 81st), Sheldon Bateau, Jayson Joseph, Kevin Molino (Yellow 90), Micah Lewis (Marcus Joseph 68th) - Jamal Gay (Trevin Casear 80th).

Coach: Angus Eve.

Referee: Omar Ponce (Ecuador).