Trinidad and Tobago's national senior football team is on the brink of elimination from the 2012 Caribbean Cup as the Soca Warriors crashed to defeat at the hands of host Antigua & Barbuda 2-0 at the Antigua Recreation Ground in St. John's, Antigua.
In fact, T&T will now have to rely on Haiti to defeat Antigua and will also have go out and win against Dominican Republic, if they are to have any chance of progressing in the tournament and qualifying for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
By the way, this was by far the worst performance I’ve witnessed T&T play in quite some time. Densill Theobald looked a shadow of himself, Daneil Cyrus looked out of sorts on the right-wing back position, Ataullah Guerra was occasionally playing one touch with the Antiguans and Defence Force duo Kevon Carter and Richard Roy looked like they were jogging in a park and created nothing fresh for the team.
The question begs, how can a team go from being undefeated a month ago against Cuba, Suriname and St Vincent to being the laughing stock of the tournament thus far?
Anyways, there wasn't much to report on in the first half as both teams played at a regular pace and kept things close, hence the reason they both were deadlock at the half. However, it would be the host who would come out of the tunnel with more purposed and within 7 minutes of the restart they took the lead through Quinton Griffith.
Skipper Jan-Michael Williams failed to hold on to Quinton Griffith's free kick and the talented defender made no mistake with the rebound to give his side a well deserved 1-0 lead. Griffith was a constant threat to the T&T side all night and kept Jan Michael Williams busy.
The Antiguans continued to press while T&T continued to sink. The players looked like they were shell-shocked on the field after Antigua had scored. The Warriors' played with no urgency and could not even string three passes together among themselves or get a shot at goal.
Antigua on the other hand grew in confidence and started to dominate T&T in all aspects of the game including, the coaching department. T&T players were bullied off the ball on many occasions while their substitutes failed to add any spark for them.
Apart from a onetime rocket shot that ricochet off the crossbar by striker Devorn Jorsling, T&T were basically clueless and played without a game plan, they lost shape and one could only predict Antigua would score again.
Then in the 73rd minute former San Juan Jabloteh striker Peter Byers made them paid further when he buried a right footed shot pass the outstretched Williams and could have added another in the dying minutes of the game.
By then co-head coach Jamal Shabazz had seen enough and was off his seat trying to lift his team, but it was too little too late as T&T seemed to have accepted defeat and must now hope Haiti comes to the rescue while they take care of Dominican Republic who lost 2-1 in the earlier game against Haiti.
Antigua meanwhile, last defeated T&T in 2005 in a friendly game at home that the Warriors lost 2-1 under then Coach Bertille St Clair. Current assistant coach Derek King and current skipper Jan-Michael Williams were also part of the team that took the field in St John's, Antigua.
One of the Trinidad and Tobago's biggest ever win over any country in all competitions at senior level was an 11-1 victory over Antigua in 1972 under English coach Kevin Verity. Strikers Noel Llewellyn and Steve David both bagged hat-tricks for T&T.
The twin-island republic also holds an 83 % winning record over the Antiguans with 10 wins, 2 losses and 0 ties.
Trinidad & Tobago: - 1.Jan-Michael Williams (capt); 17.Daneil Cyrus, 20.Seon Power, 5.Carlyle Mitchell, 2.Aubrey David (Yellow 81); 18.Densill Theobald, 7.Hughtun Hector (13.Richard Roy 80th), 10.Kevin Molino (11.Kevon Carter 68th), 8.Ataullah Guerra, 3.Joevin Jones; 15.Jamal Gay (9.Devorn Jorsling 67th).
Coach: - Jamal Shabazz & Hutson Charles (TRI).
Antigua & Barbuda: - Molvin James; George Dublin, Quinton Griffith, Akeem Thomas, Karanja Mack, Gason Gregory, Tamorley Thomas, Randolph Burton (Teran Williams 75th), Kimoi Alexander, Peter Byers (Lennox Julian 90th), Stephan Smith.
Coach: - Rolston Williams (ATG).
Referee: - David Rubalcaba (Cuba).
Attendance: - 2000.
T&T 0 vs Antigua 2
; Quinton Griffith 51, Peter Byers 73.
P W D L F A Pts
Haiti 2 1 1 0 2 1 4
Antigua & Barbuda 2 1 0 1 3 2 3
Dominican Republic 2 1 0 1 3 3 3
Trinidad & Tobago 2 0 1 1 0 2 1
Antigua stifles Trinidad 2-0.
Trinidad & Tobago found itself on the brink of elimination from the Caribbean Cup after falling 2-0 on Sunday to Antigua and Barbuda at the Antigua Recreation Ground.
The result left the eight-time Caribbean champion with only a single point from two Group A games, while the host bounced back from a 2-1 loss to the Dominican Republic to secure its first points.
Haiti, which defeated the Dominican Republic in the evening's first match, is in first place with four points.
In an even first half, both teams played a waiting game as a premium was placed on denying, rather than producing, opportunities. The action was principally wedged in the midfield and the forwards were left mostly anonymous.
Hughton Hector had the best chance for Trinidad in the 38th minute, but his shot from just inside the 18-yard box was parried by Molvin James for a corner. The Antiguan goalkeeper flashed his talents once again two minutes later, thwarting Ataullah Guerra from close range.
Antigua's Kimoi Alexander created a semi-chance just before the break that failed to bother Soca Warriors goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams.
Quinton Griffith gave the home supporters something for which to cheer, conjuring a moment of magic in the 51st minute to give the Benna Boys a 1-0 lead. The 20-year-old defender collected a rebound of his own free kick and lashed it past Williams from 20-yards out.
Randolph Burton nearly doubled the advantage a few moments later, hitting the crossbar after being on the receiving end of unselfish service by Tamorley Thomas.
Kevin Molino tried to bring the visitors on level terms in the 65th minute with a low volley that James handled easily. Devorn Jorsling hit the crossbar just a few minutes after.
Antigua secured the needed insurance goal in the 73rd minute and it had the dependable Peter Byers to thank. The 28-year-old forward got into the box and after a hesitation dribble, slipped a shot past Williams for his second tally in two Caribbean Cup games.
Group A, which was expected to be tightly contested, concludes play with a Tuesday doubleheader. In the opener, Trinidad & Tobago will need to beat the Dominican Republic to have any hope of progressing. Immediately afterwards, Antigua will take on Haiti.
The top two teams will advance to the semifinals and book tickets to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.