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Trinidad and Tobago forward Nathaniel James (left) holds off Jamaica defender Joel Cunningham during friendly international action at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar on 3 March 2024. ...Photo: Daniel Prentice
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THE Soca Warriors failed to score yet again in the second friendly against the Reggae Boyz on Sunday at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar, Arima.

After losing the first friendly 1-0 on Friday, T&T and Jamaica played to a goalless draw, as national men’s coach Angus Eve prepares for the March 23 Copa America qualifying match against Canada.

Eve made wholesale changes to the starting line-up, following the defeat to Jamaica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, introducing goalkeeper Denzil Smith, Ross Russell Jr, Kevon Goddard, Michel Poon-Angeron, Nathaniel James, Duane Muckette and John-Paul Rochford to the starting line up, after they played no role in Friday’s fixture.

Alvin Jones, Jamal Jack and Kaile Auvray, all of whom made cameo appearances in the previous match, also started on Sunday.

Liam Burns, Michael Chaves, Kai Moos, Kai Garvey, all of whom made their debut on Friday, were left out, along with Adrian Foncette, Nathaniel Garcia, Josiah Trimmingham and Justin Sadoo.

Robert Primus, 33, perhaps signalled a long-term return to the T&T set-up, having been the only player to start in both matches.

Though generally sturdy in defence, T&T struggled to find a breakthrough throughout the entire first period, and enjoyed the better of the limited chances on either side of the park in the second period.

James put the ball in the back of the net with a low left-footed strike moments before half time, after being played through on goal, only for the assistant referee to raise his flag for an offside.

Jamaica then had a chance to take a lead shortly after the half-time break, when Shaniel Thomas nearly capitalised on a poor headed clearance from Ross Russell Jr, but his strike was saved confidently by Smith.

T&T’s nifty winger Auvray created a chance in the 58th minute, successfully taking on Jamaica’s fullback before passing the ball across the face of the goal, eluding everyone, including James.

Coventry City’s Justin Obikwu, who started on Friday, came off the bench and caused Jamaica some problems. Obikwu shrugged off two Jamaican defenders in the 79th minute and nearly beat the Jamaica stopper, who was forced off his line to punch the ball clear.

Both matches, though far from exciting, allowed Eve a glimpse of about 60 players shortlisted for selection for the one-off fixture versus Canada. The winner of the fixture in Fresco, Texas, will take one of two remaining spots available for the Copa America championships, being hosted in the US from June 20-July 14.

(Teams)

Trinidad and Tobago (4-3-3): 22.Denzil Smith (GK) (1.Christopher Biggette [GK] 62'); 16.Alvin Jones (captain), 5.Jamal Jack, 12.Robert Primus, 3.Ross Russell Jr; 10.Duane Muckette, 6.Kevon Goddard (15.Rhondel Gibson 46'), 8.Michel Poon-Angeron (23.Justin Sadoo 85'); 14.John-Paul Rochford (11.Justin Obikwu 62'), 9.Nathaniel James (17.Kaihim Thomas 77'), 20.Kaïlé Auvray (18.Shervohnez Hamilton 88').

Unused substitutes: 21.Adrian Foncette (GK), 2.Liam Burns, 7.Mickaeel Jem Gordon, 13.Kai Garvey, 19.Kai Moos, 24.Michael Chaves.

Coach: Angus Eve

Jamaica (4-2-3-1): 23.Shaquan Davis (GK) (captain); 3.Kyle Ming, 5.Richard King, 2.Joel Cunningham, 22.Emelio Rousseau; 4.Romario Guthrie, 6.Jashaun Anglin; 7.Andre Fletcher, 11.Shaniel Thomas, 8.Alex Marshall; 20.Jason Wright.

Substitutes: 1.Jayden Hibbert (GK), 9.Fabian Reid, 10.Justin Dunn, 12.Devonte Campbell, 13.Kemar Foster, 14.Sue-Lae McCalla, 15.Ricardo Thomas, 16.Jamone Shepherd, 17.Garth Stewart, 18.Shamour Smith, 19.Stephen Young, 21.Kaheim Dixon.

Coach: Heimir Hallgrimsson.

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