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Soca Warriors stumble in Curacao 1-0
T&T’s senior men’s football team fell to an 85th minute goal and was eventually beaten 1-0 by host Curacao in a friendly international match on Friday night at the Sentro Deportivo Korsou in Willemstad, Curacao. The match was played on a newly installed artificial turf as the hosts pulled off the moral boosting win they were hoping for ahead of their upcoming 2018 World Cup at home to Cuba on Wednesday.
T&T, missing several of its regular overseas-based professionals, managed to create a few good scoring chances but failed to put away any against a Curacao team full of seasoned European-based players.
Among those in their starting eleven was goalkeeper Eloy Room of Dutch Premier Division club FC Twente, forward Felitciano Zschusschen and defenders Darryl Lachman and Rhuendly Martina all of FC Twente, Rihairo Meulens of Romanian club Rapid Bucuresti, Cyprus-based defender Dustley Mulder and forward Gianluca Maria who plays for Dutch Second Division club RKC Waalwijk, midfielder Jeremy de Nooijer of Dutch Second Division club Sparta Rotterdam and Danish-based forward Elson Hooi.
Missing from the T&T line up was Central FC midfielder Ataulla Guerra who sustained an ankle injury in training on Thursday evening. This was also T&T’s first encounter without injured Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino while Chicago Fire’s Joevin Jones, English-based defender Justin Hoyte and European-based trio Lester Peltier, Aubrey David and Sheldon Bateau were all excused from the match by head coach Stephen Hart.
T&T head coach did not offer any excuses after the defeat. “This game will serve us well. We had some good moments but concentration needs to be better defensively, especially in the midfield, over ninety minutes,” Hart said after the match. “Curacao deserve credit. They played the game with a passion and desire worthy of a World Cup qualifier which they play on Wednesday against Cuba,” Hart said.
Hart stressed that T&T’s players needed to improve their mental state for international matches regardless of the opponent or the occasion. “The days for T&T just showing up in CONCACAF or the Caribbean and expecting the result to go in its favour because of history or name, are over. We need to play with a desire and a will to dominate, control the tempo of the game, defend intelligently and win.
“Having said that, we had three days together and as I said, this game will serve as a lesson as to what each international game demands of us an individuals and as a unit,” Hart said.
On the field, T&T had the first chance at goal when Jones headed just over bar after being picked out by debutant Kaydion Gabriel. It was a chance that should have been put away to settle the visitors early. On 19 minutes Jones turned provided when he headed into the path of Kerron Cummings but his shot went wide of the mark. Cummings was making his first international appearance since 2010.
Curacao got into stride and had their first try at goal in the 25th minute. Following the break, T&T continued to create chances but couldn’t hit the target. Debutant Kadeem Corbin muffed a couple good attempts and substitute Devorn Jorsling and Dwayne James also squandered further opportunities to put T&T on the scoresheet.
Substitute Charlton Vicento eventually gave the home fans much to cheer when he converted five minutes from full time for the winning goal, giving former Holland and Barcelona player Patrick Kluivert his first major win on the international stage since taking helm of the Curacao team earlier this year.
T&T will remain in Willemstad for a couple days more where they will continue to train before returning home next week. This country’s next international friendly is away to Jordan on June 16th. T&T will open its CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign against Guatemala on July 9th in Chicago and is expected to face Haiti in another warm up in Miami in early July.
T&T Line up vs Curacao
21. Jan-Michael Williams, 6. Daneil Cyrus, 17.Mekeil Williams, 18. Eljiah Belgrave (2. Shannon Gomez 83rd), 23. Kaydion Gabriel, 8. Khaleem Hyland (5. Leston Paul 60th), 20. Keron Cummings, 14. Andre Boucaud (15.Dwane James 60th), 13. Shahdon Winchester (19.Kadeem Corbin 64th) 9. Kenwyne Jones (capt) (16. Devorn Jorsling 64th), 12. Willis Plaza.
Subs not used – 1. Marvin Phillip 7. Sean De Silva, 11. Ataulla Guerra
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