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Zoe Maxwell (R) of Trinidad and Tobago and Puerto Rico's Josephine Cotto battle for possession during the 2023 Concacaf Road to Gold Cup Women's match at Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium in Bayamon, Puerto Rico on Tuesday, October 31st 2023.

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO battled to a goalless draw against Puerto Rico at the Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium in Puerto Rico on Tuesday in Group A of League A in the Concacaf Women's Gold Cup qualifiers.

It was T&T's first point of the campaign after losing 6-0 to Mexico and 2-1 to Puerto Rico last Friday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo. T&T still have an outside chance to qualify for the Gold Cup preliminary phase with a win over Mexico in December. The top team in the three-team group will advance to the Gold Cup and the second-placed team will qualify for the preliminary phase. Mexico are on six points, Puerto Rico are on four points and T&T one.

Puerto Rico had the stronger showing in the first half creating more chances on goal. In the ninth minute, a free kick was cleared by T&T and the follow-up shot from outside the 18-yard box was easily saved by T&T goalkeeper Simone Eligon.

Eligon was busy again two minutes later as she pushed a free kick 25 yards from goal over the crossbar. T&T spent most of the first half in their own half of the field, but in the 18th minute T&T got a corner kick. However, Asha James did not get enough height on the delivery and it was easily cleared.

Puerto Rico continued to attack more than T&T and in the 23rd minute, Cristina Torres got a shot outside the box but did not get enough power on it.

T&T struggled to maintain possession, but after the 30-minute mark, the Women Warriors started to keep the ball for longer periods of play.

In first-half stoppage time, Zoe Maxwell dribbled around Puerto Rico goal-keeper Jlo Varada Vazquez but a defender was in perfect position to deny T&T a shot on goal.

T&T created more chances in the second half as players like Alexcia Ali, James and Maxwell showed quality in the attacking third.

In the 60th minute, Maxwell dribbled into the box but her effort did not lead to a quality chance on the Puerto Rico goal. Two minutes later, Ali showed speed up the right side and evaded two defenders. She found James in the box, but her effort went wide of the target as Vazquez was not forced into action.

T&T captain Karyn Forbes did not capitalise on a free kick 30 yards from goal as the ball never found the target.

T&T almost gave away a goal in the 72nd minute as a back pass from defender Victoria Swift did not have enough power on it. Eligon and a Puerto Rico attacker got to the ball at the same time, but the former just managed to win the ball.

Substitute Talia Martin then took a shot from distance, but the T&T player's shot got a deflection and went out of play for a corner kick.

As the match entered the final ten minutes, Puerto Rico responded with some attacks on goal giving T&T problems on the right flank.

Tempers flared in the closing minutes of the match with players pushing each other which led to a short delay in the match as referee Merlin Vanessa Soto tried to lower the temperature.

Jonelle Cato long distance free kick was well-struck, but it just went over the crossbar as the match ended in a goalless draw.

Maria Frances-Serrant and Chrissy Mitchell of T&T did not travel to Puerto Rico because of visa issues.

SOURCE: T&T Newsday