The Soca Warriors stole the show yesterday at the Estadio Romel Fernandez Stadium when they edged host Panama 2-1 in a tight, gritty affair.
It was Trinidad and Tobago’s first away win to Panama since 2005 and also their first in the last 3 meetings with the Central Americans.
Captain Kenwyne Jones led by example and celebrated his birthday in fine-style when he put the Warriors ahead in the 35th minute with an unusual thunderbolt from 20-yards out. The skipper, who turned 31 on October 5th could have had a double minutes later but his header grazed off the top of the cross-bar in the 39th minute.
Radanfah Abu Bakr, who had not scored for his country since 2009, registered his second for T&T when the HB Koge central defender rose the highest to head home a Keron Cummings corner-kick in minute 52 to give T&T a comfortable 2 goal cushion.
The lead lasted just 7 minutes before Panama replied through midfielder Valentin Pimentel in the 59th minute with an easy tap-in pass goalkeeper Marvin Phillip's outstretched hands after some sloppy marking by T&T defence to make it 2-1 and gave the host a life-line.
After the goal, Panama raided the T&T backline and were given room to attack as T&T defence were all over the place but could not find the back off the net. In the end however, the goal ended up being a mere consolation as the Panmen' held on to secure a well deserved 2-1 victory.
T&T will rush back to Port of Spain to face Nicaragua in 5-days time at the Hasley Crawford Stadium from 7pm. Panama will head to Mexico to face that country on the same day.
T&T 2 v Panama 1
Jones 35 Pimentel 59
Abu Bakr 52
Trinidad & Tobago - 1.Marvin Phillip; 16.Gavin Hoyte (2.Aubrey David 79th), 6.Radanfah Abu Bakr, 4.Sheldon Bateau (23.Daneil Cyrus 55th), 17.Mekeil Williams; 20.Keron Cummings, 8.Khaleem Hyland, 14.Andre Boucaud (19.Kevan George 64th), 3.Joevin Jones (15.Neveal Hackshaw 77th); 7.Jonathan Glenn (11.Trevin Caesar 46th), 9.Kenwyne Jones (capt) (10.Willis Plaza 81st).
Unused substitutes: - 21.Jan-Michael Williams (GK), 13.Aikim Andrews, 18.Yohance Marshall.
Coach: - Stephen Hart.
Panama: - 1.Jaime Penedo (12.Luis Mejia 46th); 6.Gabriel Gomez, 13.Adolfo Machado, 23.Felipe Baloy (capt), 15.Erick Davis (17.Luis Henriquez 62nd); 14.Valentin Pimentel (8.Gabriel Torres 79th), 11.Armando Cooper (2.Leonel Parris 46th), 20.Anibal Godoy (7.Renan Addles 62nd), 19.Alberto Quintero; 9.Roberto Nurse, 10.Luis Tejada (16.Rolando Blackburn 62nd).
Unused substitutes: - 22.Jose Calderon (GK), 3.Roderick Miller, 4.Abdiel Macea, 18.Darwin Pinzon, 21.Ricardo Buitrago.
Coach: - Hernan Gomez.
T&T vs Panama Highlights.
Post Match reactions from Hart and Jones after 2-1 victory over Panama.
Venue: - Estadio Rommel Fernández, Panama.
T&T edge Panama 2-1; Warriors’ first win in Panama City in 10 years
By Lasana Liburd (wired868).
The “Soca Warriors” sent a signal to their CONCACAF rivals last night with a gritty 2-1 exhibition win away to Panama at the Estadio Romel Fernandez in Panama City.
It was Trinidad and Tobago’s first win away to Panama since 2005 and their first triumph of any kind against the respected Central American team since 18 March 2009.
Captain Kenwyne Jones put the Warriors ahead in the 40th minute with a ferocious blast from the edge of the opposing 18-yard box while central defender Radanfah Abu Bakr doubled the lead in the 52nd minute with a close ranged header off a Keron Cummings corner kick.
But Panama winger Valentin Pimentel pulled a goal back for the hosts in the 59th minute. And it took a tremendous display from overworked central defenders Abu Bakr and substitute Daneil Cyrus to preserve the result as the Warriors were under tremendous pressure for the closing 30 minutes.
There were no points at stake in Panama City but the Warriors, who start their Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign away to Guatemala on November 13, were anxious to show their mental toughness.
And, with a home game next Tuesday against Nicaragua, a positive showing was important to get bodies through the turnstiles at the Hasely Crawford Stadium and, hopefully, get a few signed cheques from corporate Trinidad and Tobago.
Once more, the boys in “Red, Black and White” made full use of the opportunity.
Short on experience in the attacking midfield positions—due to injuries to Lester Peltier and Ataulla Guerra and the unavailability of Cordell Cato and Rundell Winchester—coach Stephen Hart improvised by starting two centre forwards, Jones and Jonathan Glenn, in an orthodox 4-4-2 formation, which saw the Warriors defend high up the pitch.
After a sterile start to the affair, Jones had the first opportunity of the match in the 14th minute, as he spun his marker but delayed his shot and was closed down by opposing left back Erick Davis.
It was not until the 27th minute that anyone else managed a sight of goal and, this time, it was the turn of his strike partner, Glenn. Jones played a perceptive through ball to free his namesake, Joevin Jones, down the left flank but Glenn failed to get on the end of the winger’s inviting cross.
There was a scare for Trinidad and Tobago in the 33rd minute, as Panama striker Roberto Nurse headed in from an inswinging free kick. But it was an obvious offside call and the referee did his job.
Then, in the 36th minute, Hart’s two big centre forwards combined to draw first blood.
Panama failed to cut out a simple left side throw in and Glenn teed up Kenwyne, who took one touch before smashing the ball past opposing goalkeeper Jaime Penedo from the edge of the area.
It should have been 2-0 to T&T, five minutes later, as the Joneses combined again after some fluent interplay. But Kenwyne muffed a simple headed chance off another brilliant left side Joevin cross.
Hart swapped Glenn for the bustling, diminutive attacker Trevin Caesar at halftime and the Warriors immediately looked more comfortable as they reverted to their customary 4-2-3-1 formation.
Hyland released Caesar with a lofted diagonal pass in the 49th minute but Joevin squandered the winger’s cut back with an ugly effort with his right foot.
Remarkably, the chances kept coming and Trinidad and Tobago finally got their second in the 52nd minute, as Panama’s substitute custodian Luis Mejia failed to read a Cummings corner and Abu Bakr finished with a cushioned header.
It was Abu Bakr’s second senior international goal. His first strike was six years ago in a 3-2 win away to St Kitts and Nevis under then coach Russell Latapy.
In theory, Trinidad and Tobago’s 4-2-3-1 system should have offered more protection for goalkeeper Marvin Phillip’s backline in the second half. But it did not pan out that way, in part because the host team seemed to have identified a lack of cover for the Warriors’ full backs.
England-based right back Gavin Hoyte was overworked in the first half and, after the interval, it was the turn of Trinidad and Tobago left back Mekeil Williams to be left exposed, as Panama began to tear down either flank.
The host team’s lone goal came on one of the rare occasions that the Panama winger stepped inside rather than sprinted down the flank.
In the 59th minute, Pimentel cut in from the left and delivered what was surely meant to be a far post cross. Panama striker Luis Tejada dived unsuccessfully at the cross and his movement distracted Phillip, who lost the flight of the ball.
And Pimentel’s cross-cum-shot crept into the far corner to halve the visitors’ lead.
Panama zipped the ball around at pace for the final half hour and whipped a stream of crosses into the opposing box. But the Warriors, led by the towering Abu Bakr, gave little away and the host team had few scoring opportunities.
Trinidad and Tobago next face the Nicaragua team that gave Jamaica a fright before being eliminated from the 2018 qualifying campaign in a two-legged contest.
The game kicks off at 7 pm and tickets—priced at TT$200 (covered) and TT$100 (uncovered) can be purchased online at islandetickets.com or at all Sports & Games outlets, Kenny’s Sport Shop in Port of Spain, Ramsingh’s in Couva and Fan Club in Movietowne, Gulf City and Trincity Mall.
After a defiant showing in Panama City, the Trinidad and Tobago players must now demonstrate their ability to dictate proceedings in front of a often fickle home crowd in Port of Spain.
So far, so good.
Trinidad and Tobago (4-4-2): 1.Marvin Phillip (GK), 16.Gavin Hoyte (2.Aubrey David 79), 6.Radanfah Abu Bakr, 4.Sheldon Bateau (23.Daneil Cyrus 55), 17.Mekeil Williams; 20.Keron Cummings, 8.Khaleem Hyland, 14.Andre Boucaud (19.Kevan George 64), 3.Joevin Jones (15.Neveal Hackshaw 77); 7.Jonathan Glenn (11.Trevin Caesar 46), 9.Kenwyne Jones (10.Willis Plaza 81).
Unused substitutes: 21.Jan-Michael Williams (GK), 13.Aikim Andrews, 18.Yohance Marshall.
Coach: Stephen Hart
Panama (4-4-2): 1.Jaime Penedo (GK) (12.Luis Mejia (GK) 46); 6.Gabriel Gomez, 13.Adolfo Machado, 23.Felipe Baloy (captain), 15.Erick Davis (17.Luis Henriquez 62); 14.Valentin Pimentel (8.Gabriel Torres 79), 11.Armando Cooper (2.Leonel Parris 46), 20.Anibal Godoy (7.Renan Addles 62), 19.Alberto Quintero; 9.Roberto Nurse, 10.Luis Tejada (16.Rolando Blackburn 62).
Unused substitutes: 22.Jose Calderon (GK), 3.Roderick Miller, 4.Abdiel Macea, 18.Darwin Pinzon, 21.Ricardo Buitrago.
Coach: Hernan Gomez
'Warriors' push past Panama.
By Shaun Fuentes (TTFA).
Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Men’s team tasted the joys of victory in Panama for the first time since 2005 with captain Kenwyne Jones leading the charge on another significant date in October for the “Soca Warriors”.
Jones provided the assist for Stern John to secure a 1-0 win on October 8th, 2005 to keep T&T’s World Cup qualifying hopes alive in the CONCACAF Final round. And on Thursday night against a much more potent and respected Panama outfit this time around, The Cardiff City forward led Stephen Hart’s men to a 2-1 victory over the Central Americans at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez.
It was T&T’s first win over Panama in four outings after losing the three previous meetings between both teams, the most recent being the 6-5 loss on penalties at the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarter finals.
“We did a bit of experimenting on how we would play with two strikers up front and then Cummings, we were hoping would come in from the right side on his left foot but we didn’t have enough time to work on it and were a little confused in the defending part. We went in 1-0 at the break and we could have easily gone in 3-0 if we had taken our chances and that would have put a lot of pressure on Panama,” Hart told TTFA Media.
“Players came on in the second half and did very well. Caesar came on and gave us a different dynamic out wide and we got some penetration. Young Hackshaw came on as well as Kevan George which sort of solidified the midfield. Panama were pushing for the goal and they got one and were trying for a second goal. We still have quite a bit of work to do in situations when we are on top and being able to manage the game,” Hart added.
The affair was a keenly contested one and proved to be the ideal exercise for Hart and his men as the prepare to face Guatemala away from home to commence the CONCACAF semi final round of World Cup qualifiers on November 13th. T&T could have extended their lead to at least three goals before Panama eventually brought themselves back into the contest in the second half. Jones went close with a first half header and Joevin Jones also directed his effort over bar from close range.
But Jones and his men displayed a level of mental toughness that was a pleasing sign for the competitive assignments they will face on the “Road to Russia” campaign.
After Panama had a goal ruled offside. Jones unleashed a rocket from outside the penalty box which beat the former LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo all ends up. Defender Radanfah Abu Bakr then put T&T 2-0 ahead in the 52nd with a close range header from a Keron Cummings right side corner. The home team were fortunate with their goal when Valentin Pimentel’s effort managed to beat T&T custodian Marvin Phillip.
Missing the services of Cordell Cato and Lester Peltier, and with Jones making it back into the team after the 3-3 draw with Mexico, Hart used the captain and Jonathan Glenn as the two forwards and Cummings was on wide on the right flank.
Glenn would lay one off for Jones’ goal but when Trevin Caesar was introduced on the right and Cummings inserted into his customary inside position, the “Warriors” looked more dangerous on the attack and the Panamanians were way out of a comfort zone.
Jones (J) delivered a perfect ball from the left only to see his namesake head over bar. And then it was Jones’ (J) turn to miss the target when he somehow managed to strike over bar following Caesar’s delivery from the right.
Panama found new life after pulling a goal back and mounted several attacks on the T&T defence which stood firm to the test to pull off their first win on Panama soil since 2005.
Hart introduced Neveal Hackshaw, Daneil Cyrus, Mekeil Williams, Willis Plaza, Kevan George, Aubrey David and Caesar in the second half.
T&T will return home on Friday night to continue preparations for Tuesday’s Friendly with Nicaragua at the Hasely Crawford Stadium at 7pm. Tickets ($200 and $100) can be purchased online at islandetickets.com, Sports & Games, Kenny’s, Ramsingh’s in Couva and The Fan Club.