Trinidad and Tobago secured first place in Group C of the CONCACAF Caribbean Women’s Qualifiers with a business-like 13-0 victory over Grenada in Sunday’s final group match at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, Trinidad.
Needing to win by at least six goals to finish ahead of second placed St Kitts and Nevis and which had earlier beaten US Virgin Islands 7-0 to keep their chances of advancing very much alive, the hosts came out with all guns blazing and went into the half-time interview already ahead by six goals to nil.
Seventeen-year old forward Alliyah Prince, in her first start of the competition, led the way with a hattrick, scoring in the 43rd, 88th and 90th minutes while there were double strikes from captain Tasha St Louis in the 42nd and 92nd minute along with Jonelle Cato in the 45th and 54th. Janine Francos in the 51st and 80th and Mariah Shade in the 33rd and 82nd minutes.
T&T got things going with a 10th minute opening item through Kedie Johnson whose angled drive into the far corner of the net left the Grenada goalkeeper with no chance and the hosts never looked back in front of a lively home crowd. Jenelle Cunningham made it 2-0 in the 13th minute.
T&T head coach Jamaal Shabazz later credited his players for taking care of business and completing their first mission which was to advance to the final stage of the CONCACAF Caribbean qualifiers.
“God is greatest. Credit to the girls. They had a task ahead of them and they never disbelieved. We always believed we would finish on top of the group and we did. There were some up moments and down moments and I think we can take away a lot from this tournament,” Shabazz said.
Trinidad and Tobago : 1.Saundra Baron (GK); 4.Rhea Belgrave, 2.Ayana Russell, 5.Jenelle Cunningham (17.Shaunalee Govia, 68’), 7.Jonelle Cato (13.Andrea Young, 71’); 11.Janine Francois, 18.Naomie Guerra; 19.Aaliyah Prince, 10.Tasha St Louis, 16.Kedie Johnson (6.Natasha St Louis, 62’); 9.Mariah Shade.
Subs not used – 20.Nicolette Craig (GK), 3.Anastasia Prescott, 8.Patrice Superville, 12.Shanelle Arjoon, 14.Karyn Forbes, 15.Taylor Mims.
Coach: Jamaal Shabazz
Grenada : 1.Connie John (captain) (GK); 16.Carena Noel, 3.Treasher Valcin (12.Samantha McSween. 46’), 20.Grace John, 5.Nikita Paul (17.Keldonna Jeffery, 70’), 14.Shanthan Charles; 6.Erin Sylvester, 15.Merissa Charles (4.Kristal Julien, 46’), 8.Maya Hadeed; 7.Monique George, 9.Ruth Lewis.
Subs not used – 2.Reshada Charles (GK), 10.Malia Ramdhanny, 11.Amber Dominique, 13.Shaniah Johnson, 18.Shikkira Charles, 19.Diamond Lewis.
Coach: Andrew Munro
Referee: Astrid Gramajo (Guatemala)
Bermuda to join T&T in next round
Georgetown, Guyana – Bermuda soared to the top of Group E and a place in the next round when it edged Suriname 1-0 in the Concacaf Caribbean Women’s Qualifiers (CCWQ) at the Lenora Track & Field here on Sunday.
Akeyla Fubert scored the lone goal in the 41st minute to power her team to seven points, fending off the challenge of host Guyana, which ended on five points after its 0-0 draw with Barbados in the final game of the four-team group.
Bermuda had opened its account in the playoffs with a hard-fought 2-2 draw with Guyana, then secured its first win of the campaign on Friday, clipping Barbados 3-2.
On day two of competition, the Guyanese were impressive by defeating Suriname 6-1 for their only win of the tournament.
Barbados took the consolation third spot with four points made possible with Sunday’s draw and Wednesday’s opening 2-1 win victory over Suriname. The latter failed to get off the mark.
Bermuda joins Cuba (Group A), Jamaica (Group B), Trinidad and Tobago (Group C), Antigua and Barbuda (Group D) as the qualifiers for the final Caribbean qualifiers slated for August 25 to September 2 at a venue to be named.
The top three teams in the final round will qualify for the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship from October 4 to 17 in the United States. Group A will be played in Cary, North Carolina, while Group B will be played in Edinburg, Texas.
The final stage will take place in Frisco, Texas, and the top three teams will qualify as representatives of Concacaf for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
With the possibility of qualifying another Concacaf nation, the fourth-place team will engage in an intercontinental playoff against a country from Conmebol, the Confederation of South America.
T&T and St Kitts set up last day battle to the wire
Trinidad and Tobago and St Kitts and Nevis played to an intense 1-1 draw in their Group C encounter in CONCACAF Caribbean Women’s Qualifying on Friday, setting up an intriguing final day at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, Trinidad on Sunday.
The result left both teams on seven points but the hosts are ahead on a +thirteen goal difference with St Kitts on a +eleven. Trinidad and Tobago will face Grenada and St Kitts will battle US Virgin Islands in Sunday’s final set of matches following which the Group winner will be determined to move on to the CONCACAF Caribbean Final round in July.
St Kitts stunned the home team and their fans at the Ato Boldon when they took a 3rd-minute penalty through Rozel Liburd and they left T&T nervous for long periods as they came close on several occasions but just could not find the equalizing goal. The penalty resulted from a handball offense by Ayana Russell. It took a well taken right-footed free-kick from the edge of the penalty box by captain Tasha St Louis in the 79th minute to get a share of the points.
Before T&T tied it, St Kitts had a chance to double their lead back in the 20th minute when Brittany Lawrence shot just wide after goalkeeper Saundra Baron punched a free kick into her path. T&T would then go on to enjoy more possession and pressured their opponents with a series of attacks but poor finishing let them down along with timely saves by St Kitts Goalkeeper Kyra Dickinson.
“It was a bit emotional really,” St Kitts head coach Earl Jones said after the match. “I thought it was a well-fought game. Trinidad are the favorites in the group and we came in here as what you call the underdogs and we decided we were coming here to put up a good fight,” Jones told CONCACAF.com
“We give it our best. This team has been together for less than a month and we showed that we can compete. We will go down fighting right until the end on Sunday,” Jones said.
His opposite number, T&T head coach Jamaal Shabazz reacted to the match by saying, “What a game! Not one good for the heart but sometimes you got to fight. Sometimes we don’t like to fight but sometimes it’s good for you and tonight it proved good for us.
“We created sixteen, seventeen chances but what was better with St Kitts is that they are better on the ball. For the first time in the tournament, we really had to defend. If we had scored our chances then it would have been an easier game for us. The Almighty decided that we must fight,” Shabazz added. “It is part of the journey to have difficult moments also.”
In Saturday’s earlier game, Grenada picked up their first point of the competition with a 1-1 draw with Dominica. Romelcia Phillip gave Dominica a 1-0 lead in the 29th minute before Monique George equalized for Grenada in the 64th.
Grenada head coach Andrew Munro told CONCACAF.com that his team decided that they would not be heavy losers in every match in the competition after previous losing to St Kitts and Nevis 10-0 and US Virgin Islands 3-0.
“It was a good result for us. We lost the first two games because we did not play particularly well and we struggled to settle. But today I was proud to see how the players fought right until the final whistle and it’s good to see we were able to get a point from the game. This will boost our confidence and we’ll try to have a similar performance on Sunday,” Munro said.
Dominica’s head coach Rajesh Latchoo meantime was not pleased with his side’s showing. They finished the tournament with four points from their four games.
“I was not pleased. I thought we should have won the game. I know we were a bit tired because it’s been four games now but I didn’t expect us to make certain poor decisions. We gave them too much time on the ball. We didn’t execute on the day. Now we have to evaluate our performances. The girls have come a long way despite the disappointment of not advancing but we have something to build on from here and we’ll go back to training and be continuing our programme,” Latchoo told CONCACAF.com.