Previously eliminated Caribbean rivals Trinidad & Tobago (0-1-4, 1 point) and Cuba (0-4-1, 4 points) concluded their participation in the 2015 CONCACAF Under-17 Championship with a 2-2 draw on Wednesday at the Estadio Francisco Morazan.
The result was Cuba’s fourth consecutive draw after opening with a loss, while Trinidad & Tobago acquired its only point on the heels of four straight losses.
The Group A tripleheader will continue later in the day with the United States facing Jamaica and Honduras squaring off against Guatemala in group-deciding encounters. With a win, the Americans will seal a place in the final and a ticket to the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
In a match of two halves played at dissimilar rates of speed, Cuba took a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute.
Yosniel Gonzalez burst into the left side of the penalty area and directed a pass on the ground towards the six-yard box. As he attempted to block the feed, the ball took a slight deflection off Tekay Hoyce’s foot, spinning oddly towards the goal line. Eduard Puga reacted with precision to that change of direction to slam home easily from two-yards out.
Realizing it was their last chance to register a win in the competition, both teams emerged from the break in attacking moods.
Trinidad & Tobago leveled in the 65th minute through Kareem Riley, who fired in from 25-yards out with his right foot for one of the tournament’s most memorable strikes.
Six minutes later, the Soca Warriors took a lead for the first time in the competition. A right-sided corner kick was played diagonally the top left corner of the box. Team captain Noah Powder received the ball and unleashed a low shot that went off the hands of goalkeeper Lazaro Garcia before going into the net.
Cuba, however, would not be denied yet another draw and, like Trinidad & Tobago, netted off a corner kick. The outstanding Raycharle Herrera lofted a left-sided delivery into the box to which Carlos Borromeo beat two defenders, heading powerfully beyond Tyrek James to complete the scoreline.
Trinidad & Tobago: - 20.Tyrek James; 2.Isaiah Garcia, 4.Tekay Hoyce (5.Shirwin Noel 92nd), 12.Kierron Mason, 19.Noah Powder, 8.Joshua Burnett (Yellow 82), 6.Kareem Riley, 13.Kishon Hackshaw (9.Chaz Burnett 83rd), 16.Shobal Celestin (14.Isaiah Hudson 62nd), 10.Morgan Bruce, 7.Shakeem Patrick
Coach: - Shawn Cooper
Cuba: - 1.Lazaro Garcia; 15.Yeffrey Delgado, 4.Carlos Borromeo (Yellow 92), 14.Yon Hernandez, 3.Dariel Morejon, 11.Nelson Betancourt (6.Jonathan Ramirez 45th - Yellow 61), 18.Neisser Sando, 13.Serguey Campillo (16.Brian Savigne 68th), 7.Raycharles Herrera, 10.Eduard Puga, 8.Yosniel Gonzalez (9.Carlos Sebrango 81st)
Coach: - Fidel Salazar