A perfectly executed volley by second half substitute Trevin Caesar earned Trinidad and Tobago a 1-1 draw with Ecuador on Sunday at the Omnilife Stadium and kept their hopes of advancing to the semi-finals of the Guadalajara Pan American Games alive.
Caesar was only a minute before introduced into the attack by head coach Angus Eve and he connected with a Jamal Gay assist, burying his shot past Ecuadorian goalkeeper Sebastian Jaramillo in the 69th minute.
That goal brought T&T right back into the match and they went on to enjoy greater possession for the remainder of the half and would consider themselves not to have snatched the lead before the end.
The result pushed T&T to two points, meaning that regardless of the result between Mexico (four points) and Uruguay (three points) on Sunday night, T&T would have it all to play for against Uruguay on Tuesday as a victory could push them through to the semi-finals.
Ecuador now go home with one point after also losing 1-0 to Uruguay on Friday and 2-1 to Mexico last Wednesday.
“We have everything to play for in the next game and we can do it,” elated goalscorer Trevin Caesar told TTFF Media after the match.
“Today we showed again that we could compete and we have a fighting spirit in the team. The coach gave us instructions and we went out there and tried to deliver.
Scoring here in Mexico to help us get a point is a marvelous feeling for me but it’s a reward for the whole team effort.
When the ball was coming over, I knew that I had to just keep my cool and try to get a good shot on the ball. The ball came over at a good speed and I connected well to put it home,” Caesar added.
Ecuadorian Michael Jackson Quiononez had earlier scored a left footed beauty from atop the box in the 18th minute, collecting and directing his shot into the left corner of the net past goalkeeper Andre Marchan to give the South Americans the early breakthrough.
Some eight minutes earlier Nazarano had also tried his luck from long range but Marchan was well up to the test.
T&T enjoyed a lot more of the ball in the first half than they did in the previous 1-1 draw with Mexico and had two further scoring opportunities that should have been utilized.
One of them came in the 31st minute when Joevin Jones sent a left side free kick on the far post and Gay nodded back in but Micah Lewis, with the goal at his mercy, hesitated in a crowded box and was unable to get a proper shot off from the six yard before the Ecuadorians scrambled to safety. Mekeil Williams also had a low shot wide of the left post.
Kevin Molino was once again the engine of the T&T side, orchestrating most of the plays for Eve’s team with his poise and intelligent movement. He should have however done better with his effort six minutes from the break.
He collected from Jayson Joseph but did not get enough on his right footed shot, allowing Jaramillo to save low down.
Molino was also goal-bound right down the centre of the box but was too unselfish, pushing wide for Bateau instead of having a shot himself.
T&T began the second half with a lot more positive play and put Ecuador on the backfoot as they went in search of the equalizer.
There were strong appeals for a penalty when Molino went down after going past the goalkeeper but Canadian referee Dave Gantar would have none of it.
T&T by then had won over the fans, some 15,000 who urged T&T on everytime they appeared to be going into attack while they jeered the South Americans.
Another enterprising piece of play by T&T in the 60th brought more loud cheers when Molino flicked one for Joseph and collected the return ball before smashing his effort off the woodwork. A goal seemed near for T&T.
“Tri-nee-dad… Tri-nee-dad” was the shout from the crowd for much of the remaining moments and T&T’s persistence paid off when Caesar buried the equalizer after Bateau had found Gay who nodded on for the goalscorer to finish.
Ecuador defender Alfredo Folleco received a yellow card for time wasting on a throw in. T&T custodian Marchan came up big in the 85th minute to push out Patricio Colon’s effort from close range.
T&T maintained their discipline at the back to come away with another deserved point in Guadalajara.
Trinidad and Tobago: Andre Marchan, Kareem Moses (Jeromie Williams 58th), Aquil Selby, Joevin Jones (Yellow 58), Leslie Russell, Mekeil Williams (Yellow 2), Sheldon Bateau, Jayson Joseph (Yellow 81), Kevin Molino, Micah Lewis (Trevin Caesar 68th), Jamal Gay (Marcus Joseph 80th).
Unused Sub: Shahdon Winchester, Cameron Roget, Kaydion Gabriel, Zane Coker.
Coach: Angus Eve.
Ecuador: John Jaramillo, Deison Méndez, Juan Anangono Campos, Wilson Folleco (Yellow 67) (Danny Luna 68th), Michael Quiñónez (Yellow 37) (John Narvaez 56th), Dennys Quiñónez, Carlos Quillupangui (Yellow 80), Dixon Arroyo, Edder Fuertes, Luis Congo, Marco Nazareno (Alex Colon 46th).
Unused Sub: Johan Padilla, Roberto Castro.
Coach: Sixto Vizuete.
Referees: Dave Gantar (Canada).
Venue: Estadio Omnilife (Zapopan, Guadalajara).
Competition: 2011 Pan American Games.
P W D L F A Pts
Mexico 3 2 1 0 8 4 7
Uruguay 2 1 0 1 3 5 3
T&T 2 0 2 0 2 2 2
Ecuador 3 0 1 2 2 4 1
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