Trinidad and Tobago became the second of four Caribbean qualifiers for the CONCACAF stage of qualifying for the 2011 FIFA Under-17 Men's World Cup thanks to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Bermuda, at the Marvin Lee Stadium, in Macoya, yesterday.
The Young Warriors' victory, coupled with Cuba's 1-0 win over St Kitts-Nevis, ensured that the home team won Group E on a superior goal average, after both T&T and Cuba ended Group E with seven points. However, both teams moved through to the 12-team CONCACAF final stage.
Yesterday, TTFF press officer Shaun Fuentes reported that the CFU general secretary Angela Khanai had only confirmed a day ago that the Caribbean had been allotted an extra qualifying spot.
So, T&T and Cuba will now be joined by the winners and runners-up of the still to be played Group F, consisting of Jamaica, Haiti, Guyana and Barbados.
Previously, only the winners of groups E&F and the better second-placed team would have qualified.
The adjustment gave St Kitts -Nevis an excellent chance of advancing to the CONCACAF stage, if they could upset the Cubans.
They played an improved match, holding the Cubans scoreless until the 56th minute, when Dairon Perez netted from a free kick.
In the second match of the double-header, T&T looked better than in their first two matches, but made hard work of beating Bermuda.
Coach Sean Cooper made some changes to his line-up, putting diminutive Fatima College student Xavier Rampaul in the middle of the park where he combined well with playmaker/skipper Karl Muckette.
Caledonia AIA striker Jomal "Beebo" Williams went close for T&T in the 12th minute when back-heeling a low cross from the left. The ball rolled marginally wide of the far post. Muckette also went close, with a header onto Tarik Nicholas' free kick.
Vessigny Secondary's Adan Noel did some good work as well when seeing action for the first time at left midfield.
Williams was both hero and villain on the night, scoring both T&T goals, but also wasting many other opportunities.
He finally broke his scoring drought in the 23rd minute to give the Young Warriors a 1-0 lead, tucking away the rebound when Bermudan keeper Dale Eve parried Noel's initial shot.
Williams doubled T&T's tally in the 40th with a precise back-post header, after good work again from Noel on the left.
Bermuda were relegated to a long-range effort from Quintionio Lema on the half hour, which hardly troubled T&T keeper Quesi Watson, and a low Zeiko Lewis shot which the T&T keeper turned away near the end of the first half.
Bermuda had a brilliant start to the second half, Lewis beating Scarborough Secondary defender Dario Holmes, and then finding the far corner from an almost impossible angle on the left to make the score 2-1 in the 46th minute
But T&T took control of the game, pressing for more goals.
Williams had missed a few "sitters" in the opening 8-0 win over St Kitts-Nevis, but having scored twice yesterday, one would have thought he would be bubbling with confidence.
But the T&T striker missed four second-half chances, including turning the ball over from close up in the 52nd minute and hitting wide with just Bermudan keeper Dale Eve to beat.
Williams would later strike the Bermudan cross bar before he was eventually substituted.
As T&T continued to miss chances, Bermuda would every now and again look a threat. And T&T keeper Weston had a scary moment when Lewis' seemingly harmless shot took a heavy deflection which sent the ball curling towards the far corner.
Luckily, Weston was able to put out a long arm and touch the danger away. T&T only just got there.
Trinidad & Tobago: - 21.Quesi Weston, 2.Tarik Nicholls (7.Neil Benjamin 76th), 3.Nicholas Marcano, 4.Dario Holmes, 5.Damani Richards, 8.Karl Muckette (capt), 9.Shackiel Henry, 10.Jomal Williams (12.Dwight Quintero 75th), 14.Xavier Rampaul, 17.Kiel Pierre, 19.Adan Noel.
Unsed Subs: - 11.Garvin Samaroo , 13.Tevonne Morris, 16.Glen Sutton, 6.Rondel Phillip. 1.Kevin Dodds.
Bermuda: - 1.Dale Eve, 2.Shakhai Trott, 3.Mauriqu Hill, 6.Quintonio Lema (Chikosi Basden 70th), 7.Shachkeil Burrows, 8.Wendell Tre-Ming (capt) (Ryan Hassell 50th), 9.Minors Jair, 10.Zeiko Lewis, 15.Zeon Robinson, 16.Shakeem Albouy (Juma Mouchette 50th), 20.Demetre Daniels.