Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Men’s team ended its three-match international series with a 4-2 defeat to China in Friday’s international friendly at the Qinhuangdao Olympic Sports Center in Qinhuangdao.
Playing without several regular players including the likes of captain Kenwyne Jones, US-based trio Joevin Jones, Kevin Molino and Mekeil Williams and European-based trio Khaleem Hyland, Sheldon Bateau and Levi Garcia, T&T were hoping to force a positive result against a lively Chinese outfit but it turned out to a be a quick fire start by the home team instead. Attacking midfielder Jiang Hang scored with a free header on the edge of the six yard box from a right side cross inside the second minute of the encounter.
T&T had its best look at goal when Nathan Lewis combined with Jomal Williams but the DirecTV W Connection man didn’t get enough on his shot and it was claimed low down by goalkeeper Zeng Ceng.
Shahdon Winchester also had a free downward header which bounced over the bar from a Sean De Silva left side corner. China took a 2-0 lead in the 30th minute when Vitesse Arnhem striker Zhang Yuning scored with another header past Adrian Foncette.
China went 3-0 ahead when Yuning delivered again with another headed goal in the 64th minute
T&T pulled a goal back when substitute Plaza stabbed home on the far right post in the 66th minute after stand-in captain Radanfah Abu Bakr nodded one from another De Silva left side corner.
T&T were not finished and they got a second goal when substitutes Daneil Cyrus and Hughtun Hector teamed up well before Plaza’s downward header entered the goal to pull T&T to within a goal with five minutes left.
But China were not prepared to gave up their lead and substitute Yang Zu blasted his shot past substitute goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel in the 88th. Samuel had earlier pulled off a couple sharp saves to keep T&T in the match before the fourth item arrived.
T&T head coach Stephen Hart was clearly not pleased with his team’s display but credited China for their strong efforts in the encounter.
“I don’t think it was a rough 4-2 loss. You have to be realistic when you look at the game. We were physically outmatched in the air and on the ground and technically China moved the ball very impressively. We couldn’t get close to disrupt their play,” Hart told TTFA Media. “And it showed that you cannot go into games of this nature not being a 100 percent ready.
“At times we were very naïve in possession of the ball. We gave away the ball cheaply in crucial parts of the field and defensively we didn’t defend well particularly in the wide areas with the crosses. We were second best in the air. China’s aerial ability was impressive and their third man running off the ball into space caused all of sorts of trouble. From our standpoint, we were extremely stagnant,” Hart added.
Commenting on how he felt the players handled the three games which included a 4-0 loss to Peru and a 3-1 defeat to Uruguay, Hart stated:
“We went into these three games looking to see how some of these players would stand up to the challenges of this nature. We were good in some parts but it was difficult in large parts. Overall I would say it was a testing experience for the squad and one where the players could build on.
“There were one or two players that showed they could probably do something given the right circumstances. The intensity of the games had an impact so you find that players would have one good game and the second game they will not be at the same level. Overall the objective is to try and create some depth for the squad in September. Our focus now will be to get the squad ready with the best players available for the two qualifiers against Guatemala and the US. Without a doubt that is the main objective now,” Hart said.
The team returns to Port of Spain on Saturday night. T&T plays Guatemala on September 2nd at the Hasely Crawford Stadium and the USA in Jacksonville, Florida on September 6th in its next two World Cup qualifiers.
Trinidad and Tobago: 22. Adrian Foncette (GK) (21. Glenroy Samuel 46’); 3. Yohance Marshall (4. Andre Ettienne 72’), 15. Alvin Jones (5. Daneil Cyrus 72’), 6.Radanfah Abu Bakr (capt.), 2. Aubrey David; 14. Andre Boucaud, 12. Sean De Silva (20. Makesi Lewis 86’), 17. Nathan Lewis, 23. Jomal Williams, 9. Marcus Joseph (11. Willis Plaza 58’), 10. Shahdon Winchester (7. Hughtun Hector 72’)
Unused substitutes: 1. Marvin Phillip (GK), 17. Weslie John, 13. Leston Paul, 19. Curtis Gonzales
Coach: Stephen Hart
China: 1. Zeng Cheng (12. Junling Yan); 21. Yu Hai (15. Wu Xi), 14. Ding Haifeng, 6. Feng Xiaoting, 18. Gao Lin (17. Zhang Chengdong), 16. Huang Bowen (11. Junmin Hao), 19. Jiang Ning (9. Yang Xu), 20. Yu Hanchao, 5. Zhang Linpeng, 9. Zhang Yuning, 13. Zhao Mingjian (8. Rentian Hu).