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Trinidad and Tobago Head Coach Angus Eve looks on during an international friendly against Saint Martin at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Sunday, January 29th 2023.

“I thought it was a good exercise for the guys (against) a very organised St Martin team.”

“I thought it was a good exercise for the guys (against) a very organised St Martin team.”

Trinidad and Tobago head coach Angus Eve got much of what he wanted out of his team’s practice match against St Martin at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, on Sunday.

The “Soca Warriors” won 2-0 through second half goals by Kadeem Corbin and substitute Real Gill.

With two CONCACAF Nations League matches pending in March against the Bahamas away and Nicaragua at home, Eve tried to get as much from the St Martin workout as possible with a largely home-based squad.

Some 19 players got game time Sunday and Eve said afterwards: “We looked very positive in defence. We got a lot of chances (and) I thought we could have won by much more but we’ll take the win because we haven’t played for so long.”

St Martin, who have a crucial Nations League qualifier against St Kitts in March, held their own in a goalless first half without seriously testing goalkeeper Marvin Phillip. However, they lost ground in the second half following a series of changes by both teams.

For St Martin coach Stephane Auvray, there was a “big drop in terms of possession in the second half” when his locally-based players were introduced.

Eve though credited T&T’s greater threat in offence to a change in strategy. “The pressurising of the ball when we have it, it wasn’t as good first half; second half it was much better,” he noted, adding, “We put the higher pressure on them second half and raised the intensity and that is what enabled us to get the chances second half and try to take over the game a bit more.”

And while saying his side should have scored more goals, Eve was not concerned that his players were not more clinical. “Getting the chances is always good, creating the opportunities,” he said.

“I think we have a little bit more in the tank. We have some other players who can come and get goals for us but we still want this group to do well because we’ve been working with this group for a month-and-a-half. They would (not) be as (match) fit as they should be, but I thought we got them up to a very good standard tonight. They wouldn’t be as sharp to finish those chances.”

In assessing what he saw from T&T, coach Auvray noted: “I watched them train in December, so they stuck to what they worked on.

“You could tell that they…knew how to move and where to move. What they probably needed was a game like this against a good enough team to see if they could apply it and be successful with it and at the end of the day, they were successful even if it was not our best XI.”

One St Martin player who caught the eye of Eve was diminutive, fleet-footed left-winger Kaile Auvray, son of the St Martin coach. Currently playing Major League soccer in the United States, Auvray was born in France but his mother is Trinidadian and Eve made no secret of his desire to make this eligible teenager part of his squad in the future.

“He was training with us in December,” Eve said. “Very impressed with him… He goes past people, he goes at people. He’s 18, we would have loved to have had him in the Under-20s if we had known about him before...He’s definitely one of the players on our radar.”

SOURCE: T&T Express