Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Women gave up a two-goal lead to Nicaragua while the Men pulled two items back in a late fight with Costa Rica as action continued in the Football competitions of the Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, Colombia on Sunday evening.
Needing at least a win at the Estadia Moderno to cement a place in the semi finals after Haiti forfeited their matches, T&T seemed set to achieving that but Nicaragua struck back in the second half to keep their hopes alive. But T&T aren’t quite finished as a win by Mexico over the Central Americans by four goals or more tomorrow would see T&T advance.
T&T went ahead on 45 minutes when Martha Silva turned on in past her teammate goalkeeper Bethania Aburto. And Karyn Forbes would double T&T’s lead two minutes later as the Jamaal Shabazz-coached unit looked to take control of the match and finish off their opponents. But some dogged defending and resistance paid off for Nicaragua. They forced themselves back into the contest through a 69th minute goal by Yessenia Flores and snatched the tying goal in the 75th minute with Flores again on target.
At the Estadio Rogelio Martinez, the start was not as bright for T&T’s Men. They found themselves chasing the game and trailing 3-0 after just 25 minutes. Head Coach Russell Latapy switched up his team from the earlier loss to Honduras and the local boys were caught napping in the early moments. Randall Leal (9th), Andres Gomez (16th) and Leal again with a 24th minute penalty left Costa Rica sitting pretty before the half hour mark.
But T&T, preparing for the 2018 CONCACAF U-20 World Cup qualifiers in November, were not to be totally played off the park on the day. A couple good moments instilled some confidence into the side and the pulled a goal back through John Paul Rochford from the penalty spot on 60 minutes.
T&T sprung to life and Nickel Orr topped off a strong individual run with a neat finish past goalkeeper Diego Rivas in the 69th minute. T&T kept the pressure on their opponents in the closing fifteen minutes
but Costa Rica held on for the three points.
Head coach Latapy spoke of the fact that T&T took a while to settle in early parts of the encounter.
“It was a game of two halves. We started slowly but firstly because we are using this as preparation we wanted to change up the team and give some of the other guys the opportunity to play to gain experience and have a look and give them an opportunity to stake a claim for selection in November,” Latapy told TTFA Media..
“Although it’s a bit early but what we can really see these situations is in true international games.We started a bit slowly and it was just difficult for us at the beginning to deal wit the interchanging of the Costa Ricans and their movement off the ball. We really did not deal with it and we found ourselves three goals down after 25 minutes. But then after that our players were spurred on and we got some life and held on until half time. Then once we came back out after the chance to explain things a little better to the inexperienced players, it was sorted out better in the second half.
“With the introduction of the striker Isaiah Lee, he was able to go in behind with his pace and it opened up the game and created room for the midfielders to come into the little pockets and play. He got a penalty by running in behind and being nippy and in the right places. That helped us at 3-1 and then we had a fantastic finish from Orr with a great piece of individual skill.
“We know we can get that from him offensively but what we say to him and our wingers that in modern football, on the defensive part they really have to come back and help. We saw examples in the World Cup that even with the big teams such as Brazil and France, everyone getting back behind the ball and putting in their fair share of game. At 3-2 we thought with a bit of luck and more composure which we really lacked today by giving away the ball cheaply, we could have maybe done better with a bit more assertiveness,” said Latapy.
“I have to stress again that this a young team and we are in preparation for the tournament in November. All in all although the result is of utmost importance, it is a process we are working on and I think we are starting to see thing being executed on the field. We still have a long way to go but these tournaments definitely helps us to gain that experience and play at the type of intensity that international football is played at. It still is a learning experience for these young kids and we are fairly satisfied with the way things are coming along. One game to go here and we will try to share up the selection among the players and see how it goes,” Latapy added.
Goalkeeper Denzil Smith and Derron John were taken to hospital with the latter suffering a fractured finger while Smith underwent X-rays which showed no major issues following a clash of heads.
T&T Men will face Colombia at 8pm TT time on Tuesday. Colombia and Honduras drew 1-1 in Sunday’s other encounter.