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Match Report
Puerto Rico Trinidad & Tobago
Puerto Rico T&T flag
 Kerry Baptiste (pen 51')
Seon Power (71')

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DateVenueLocationAttendance
2008-01-26Juan Lobriel StadiumBayamón, Puerto Rico0


T&T recover from two goals down


Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Footballers showed some fight in front of newly appointed interim head coach Francisco Maturana to come from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 draw with Puerto Rico at the Juan Romel  Stadium on Saturday night.

With Maturana observing from the stands, the T&T team, with two debutants in its starting team, Akile Edwards and Khaleem Hyland, were left shockingly 2-0 behind after 33 minutes. But a gritty second half showing with goals from Kerry Baptiste and a 70th minute equalizer from Joe Public defender Seon Power help T&T avoid defeat in its friendly which served as a warm up to the February 6 friendly international in Port of Spain against Guadeloupe.

For that encounter the “Soca Warriors” are expected to have some of its overseas pros spearheaded by Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones but on Saturday night there was much for Maturana and Anton Corneal to assess as the team, comprising of mostly home-based pros allowed the homeside to take charge in the first half.

The Puerto Ricans, preparing for next month’s World Cu qualifier against Dominican Republic, actually had the first two tries at goal inside the opening ten minutes. Peter Villegas ran on to hit a loose ball over bar from the inside right of the penalty box. Soon after Andres Cabrera volleyed over bar from a left side cross. Taylor Graham’s header also bounced over the top from a left side corner

T&T allowed the Puerto Ricans to hustle around and took just over a quarter hour to settle down. The visitors first bit of inroad into the opposition goal came when Edwards played one into the box for Anthony Wolfe but an alert  Josh Saunders was quickly off his line to close down the attack

The opening goal arrived after  a long clearance down the park from goalie Saunders led to Graham winning the header, allowing Kupono Low to latch on and hit low past Marvin Phillip.

Near the half hour mark, Hyland got up well to meet a Baptiste right side cross but his header on the far post was pushed over. Moments later Wolfe failed to get enough on an incoming right side delivery from Baptiste.

Soon after Puerto Rico got their second goal when Villegas’ free kick into the area from the right was nodded down by an unmarked Graham and Chris Mesaloudis was on spot to push the ball past an advancing Phillip from the six yard.

T&T upped their game in the second half and put the home team under pressure for longer periods. Andre Toussaint replaced Anthony Wolfe and it wasn’t too long after that T&T got a penalty for a handle ball inside the area. Baptiste stepped up and calmly put the ball into the left of the net as skipper Trent Noel and his men got just what they had been in search of. Meantime the backline marshaled by Osei Telesford with support from Keston Williams, Power and Edwards kept things on the opposite end.

T&T pressed and got a deserved equalizer when Power took his time to head down into the right of the net after a right side cross was played in for him.

Young Jabloteh striker Lester Peltier also came on in the second half, making his debut as well, and had a couple chances on goal. Toussaint also had an ambitions long range effort which dipped after it went over bar.

The team is scheduled in on Sunday night and will resume training next week leading into the Guadeloupe game. The overseas pros are carded to start arriving from next Sunday.

Maturana looks ahead

Anton Corneal, Assistant coach of the National Team, who was in charge for the 2-2 draw with Puerto Rico, said he was pleased only with the second half showing, describing the exercise as an eye opener for the players.

“It was an eye opener for some of the players and they will see the importance of starting the game the right way and at the right speed. They executed their set plays better than we did. But the second half was a lot better and we saw a team coming back with two goals and looking good to get a couple more,” Corneal told TTFF Media.

“It’s a result we have to live with and we knew we wanted to use all our subs in this game which we did. We saw some heart from the younger ones and we were able to give them a chance to break into the international game before they reach 25 or 26.”

Having held discussions with interim head coach Francisco Maturana, Corneal explained: “He’s already looking ahead and is looking to see which of these players can mesh with the overseas pros. He was pleased with the heart from the players in this game.”

The Colombian-born coach added: “I think there was some fight in the second half and we will see how we can get the team ready with all the players for the next game. It is important that the players are always healthy and that means they must always have a lot of heart and the right attitude. We will work from here to get it right.”

LINEUP
 Marvin Phillip
 Subbed outAklie Edwards
 Subbed in 75' Kern Cupid
17.Seon Power
 Osei Telesford
 Keston Williams
 Subbed outKhaleem Hyland
 Subbed in 68' Stephan David
7.Trent Noel (capt.)
 Subbed outKerry Baptiste
 Subbed in 64' Nickolson Thomas
 Subbed outJason Marcano
 Subbed in 46' Christian Baptiste
9.Subbed outConrad Smith
 Subbed in 46' Lester Peltier
 Subbed outAnthony Wolfe
 Subbed in 58' Andre Toussaint
SUBSTITUTES
 Kern Cupid
 Nickolson Thomas
 Christian Baptiste
 Stephan David
 Lester Peltier
 Andre Toussaint
COACH
 Anton Corneal
SUBSTITUTIONS
46'Subbed outSubbed inLester Peltier for Conrad Smith
46'Subbed outSubbed inChristian Baptiste for Jason Marcano
58'Subbed outSubbed inAndre Toussaint for Anthony Wolfe
64'Subbed outSubbed inNickolson Thomas for Kerry Baptiste
68'Subbed outSubbed inStephan David for Khaleem Hyland
75'Subbed outSubbed inKern Cupid for Aklie Edwards