Trinidad and Tobago secured first place in Group C of the CONCACAF Caribbean Women’s Qualifiers with a business-like 13-0 victory over Grenada in Sunday’s final group match at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, Trinidad.
Needing to win by at least six goals to finish ahead of second placed St Kitts and Nevis and which had earlier beaten US Virgin Islands 7-0 to keep their chances of advancing very much alive, the hosts came out with all guns blazing and went into the half-time interview already ahead by six goals to nil.
Seventeen-year old forward Alliyah Prince, in her first start of the competition, led the way with a hattrick, scoring in the 43rd, 88th and 90th minutes while there were double strikes from captain Tasha St Louis in the 42nd and 92nd minute along with Jonelle Cato in the 45th and 54th. Janine Francos in the 51st and 80th and Mariah Shade in the 33rd and 82nd minutes.
T&T got things going with a 10th minute opening item through Kedie Johnson whose angled drive into the far corner of the net left the Grenada goalkeeper with no chance and the hosts never looked back in front of a lively home crowd. Jenelle Cunningham made it 2-0 in the 13th minute.
T&T head coach Jamaal Shabazz later credited his players for taking care of business and completing their first mission which was to advance to the final stage of the CONCACAF Caribbean qualifiers.
“God is greatest. Credit to the girls. They had a task ahead of them and they never disbelieved. We always believed we would finish on top of the group and we did. There were some up moments and down moments and I think we can take away a lot from this tournament,” Shabazz said.
T&T and St Kitts set up last day battle to the wire
Trinidad and Tobago and St Kitts and Nevis played to an intense 1-1 draw in their Group C encounter in CONCACAF Caribbean Women’s Qualifying on Friday, setting up an intriguing final day at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, Trinidad on Sunday.
The result left both teams on seven points but the hosts are ahead on a +thirteen goal difference with St Kitts on a +eleven. Trinidad and Tobago will face Grenada and St Kitts will battle US Virgin Islands in Sunday’s final set of matches following which the Group winner will be determined to move on to the CONCACAF Caribbean Final round in July.
St Kitts stunned the home team and their fans at the Ato Boldon when they took a 3rd-minute penalty through Rozel Liburd and they left T&T nervous for long periods as they came close on several occasions but just could not find the equalizing goal. The penalty resulted from a handball offense by Ayana Russell. It took a well taken right-footed free-kick from the edge of the penalty box by captain Tasha St Louis in the 79th minute to get a share of the points.
Before T&T tied it, St Kitts had a chance to double their lead back in the 20th minute when Brittany Lawrence shot just wide after goalkeeper Saundra Baron punched a free kick into her path. T&T would then go on to enjoy more possession and pressured their opponents with a series of attacks but poor finishing let them down along with timely saves by St Kitts Goalkeeper Kyra Dickinson.
“It was a bit emotional really,” St Kitts head coach Earl Jones said after the match. “I thought it was a well-fought game. Trinidad are the favorites in the group and we came in here as what you call the underdogs and we decided we were coming here to put up a good fight,” Jones told CONCACAF.com
“We give it our best. This team has been together for less than a month and we showed that we can compete. We will go down fighting right until the end on Sunday,” Jones said.
His opposite number, T&T head coach Jamaal Shabazz reacted to the match by saying, “What a game! Not one good for the heart but sometimes you got to fight. Sometimes we don’t like to fight but sometimes it’s good for you and tonight it proved good for us.
“We created sixteen, seventeen chances but what was better with St Kitts is that they are better on the ball. For the first time in the tournament, we really had to defend. If we had scored our chances then it would have been an easier game for us. The Almighty decided that we must fight,” Shabazz added. “It is part of the journey to have difficult moments also.”
In Saturday’s earlier game, Grenada picked up their first point of the competition with a 1-1 draw with Dominica. Romelcia Phillip gave Dominica a 1-0 lead in the 29th minute before Monique George equalized for Grenada in the 64th.
Grenada head coach Andrew Munro told CONCACAF.com that his team decided that they would not be heavy losers in every match in the competition after previous losing to St Kitts and Nevis 10-0 and US Virgin Islands 3-0.
“It was a good result for us. We lost the first two games because we did not play particularly well and we struggled to settle. But today I was proud to see how the players fought right until the final whistle and it’s good to see we were able to get a point from the game. This will boost our confidence and we’ll try to have a similar performance on Sunday,” Munro said.
Dominica’s head coach Rajesh Latchoo meantime was not pleased with his side’s showing. They finished the tournament with four points from their four games.
“I was not pleased. I thought we should have won the game. I know we were a bit tired because it’s been four games now but I didn’t expect us to make certain poor decisions. We gave them too much time on the ball. We didn’t execute on the day. Now we have to evaluate our performances. The girls have come a long way despite the disappointment of not advancing but we have something to build on from here and we’ll go back to training and be continuing our programme,” Latchoo told CONCACAF.com.
Trinidad and Tobago: 1.Saundra Baron (GK); 4.Rhea Belgrave, 2.Ayana Russell, 5.Jenelle Cunningham (17.Shaunalee Govia, 68’), 7.Jonelle Cato (13.Andrea Young, 71’); 11.Janine Francois, 18.Naomie Guerra; 19.Aaliyah Prince, 10.Tasha St Louis, 16.Kedie Johnson (6.Natasha St Louis, 62’); 9.Mariah Shade.
Subs not used – 20.Nicolette Craig (GK), 3.Anastasia Prescott, 8.Patrice Superville, 12.Shanelle Arjoon, 14.Karyn Forbes, 15.Taylor Mims.
Coach: Jamaal Shabazz
Grenada: 1.Connie John (captain) (GK); 16.Carena Noel, 3.Treasher Valcin (12.Samantha McSween. 46’), 20.Grace John, 5.Nikita Paul (17.Keldonna Jeffery, 70’), 14.Shanthan Charles; 6.Erin Sylvester, 15.Merissa Charles (4.Kristal Julien, 46’), 8.Maya Hadeed; 7.Monique George, 9.Ruth Lewis.
Subs not used – 2.Reshada Charles (GK), 10.Malia Ramdhanny, 11.Amber Dominique, 13.Shaniah Johnson, 18.Shikkira Charles, 19.Diamond Lewis.
Coach: Andrew Munro
Referee: Astrid Gramajo (Guatemala)
Shabazz's post match reactions after 13-0 win over Grenada
Prince: Hard Work paid off
Cunningham talks about 13-0 win which pushed T&T through to CONCACAF Caribbean final phase
Soca Princesses advance.
By Walter Alibey (Guardian).
T&T women’s footballers advanced to the final Concacaf play-off series of the Concacaf Caribbean Women’s World Cup Qualifiers after they defeated Grenada in their final Group C encounter at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva last night.
The results ensured that T&T progresses ahead of St Kitts/Nevis on a superior goal difference. Striker Aaliyah Prince led the way for the host with a hat-trick.
Needing to win by six clear goals after St Kitts/Nevis hammered the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) 7-0 in the first match of a double-header, T&T wasted little time from kick-off when midfielder Kedie Johnson, who came in as a replacement for Summer Arjoon, caught goalkeeper Connie John napping with a blistering drive from the left that flew past her in the tenth minute to put her team 1-0 up.
The goal literally opened up the floodgates, diminishing any chance St Kitts/Nevis had. Grenada’s shaky defence accounted for the second goal, failing to clear Tasha St Louis’ left side cross from a free kick, and defender Jenelle Cunningham fired home the loose ball four minutes later.
Mariah Shade, St Louis, Aaliyah Prince and Jinelle Cato later found the net to give T&T a 6-0 half-time lead, which was sufficient for the home team to top the group with a half still to play.
T&T could have afforded to take their feet off the pedal thereafter, but instead, midfielder Janine Francois continued the rout by converting Shade’s right side cross in the 50th. Later, Cato added her second on the night in the 52nd and Shade and Francois also doubled up with items in the 80th and 82nd.
With Grenada attempting to regroup, forward Prince completed her hat-trick, two of them from through balls, to fire past John in the 88th and 90th, respectively, for a 12-0 advantage.
Captain St Louis completed the rout in the 92nd minute when she steered in Prince centre from the right for a 13-0 victory.
FINAL GROUP C STANDING
Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1. T&T 4 3 1 0 27 1 26 10
2. St Kitts/Nevis 4 3 1 0 20 2 18 10
3. Dominica 4 1 1 2 5 6 -1 4
4. USVI 4 1 1 2 3 20 -24 3
5. Grenada 4 0 1 3 1 14 -26 0