Panama edges host T&T in TTFA Youth Invitational opener

Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 15 Boys team took the lead twice but could not hold on as Panama completed a come from behind 5-4 victory over the hosts in the second game of the opening double header in the 2019 TTFA Youth Invitational tournament at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Wednesday night.

The match was witnessed by an enthusiastic and appreciative crowd as the young ‘Warriors’ put on a gritty display and found the net in style to the delight of the home fans who had been waiting for something to cheer from the Red,White and Black for quite some time. Earlier in the day Mexico scored two second half goals to defeat Venezuela 2-0.

The Panamanians got double items from from Rafael Di­az and Rey­mun­do Arauz after T&T went ahead in the 17th minute to send the stadium into a frenzy. Josi­ah Wil­son’s cross from a corner was turned into the goal by Pana­ma de­fend­er Fe­lix Ariza in his mis-attempt at clearing.

Soon after T&T goalkeeper Kanye Lazarus was called into action to deny Rafael Diaz. On 27 minutes the visitors would storm back. Rey­mun­do Arauz got past two men before firing past Lazarus to level the scores. and ten minutes later they were 2-1 ahead when Diaz was brought down in the penalty area by Molik Khan. Diaz nailed the resulting penalty.

Molik Khan (#8) heads home Trinidad and Tobago’s 2nd goal past Panama’s goalkeeper. Photo: Allan V. Crane/CA-images

T&T didn’t drop their heads and were back in it when Khan converted from a left side corner by Abdul-Quddoos Hypolite in the 41st.

Both teams came out after the interval looking to seize the initiative. T&T moved ahead when captain Jaheim Marshall found time and space and picked his spot well as he fired home with thunderous effort leaving Panama goalkeeper Ivani Pitty with no chance.

Panama kept pace with the hosts and would pull away, punishing T&T for napping.Arauz was un­marked in the 69th minute when he was served a lift­ing ball in­side the area and took it nice­ly on the chest be­fore beat­ing ad­vanc­ing goal­keep­er Lazarus. There were appeals for an offside but the goal stood.

Evans Zu­ni­ga made an­oth­er search­ing run down the right flank and whipped in a cross that Emanuel Igle­sias slot­ted in for a 4-3 lead. An unmarked Arauz then sent Diaz through as he shot past Lazarus to put the visitors 5-3 ahead.

Nathaniel James gave T&T late hop of salvaging something from the match when he moved past the Panama defence before slotting home three minutes from time.

T&T tried to steal a late equaliser and had a couple half chances near the end that didn’t go in.

All in all, an encouraging display from the young team that will meet Venezuela on Friday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

Watch Stuart Charles Fevrier’s Post Match comments below

The Main Stand Crowd takes in the action on Wednesday night at the Ato Boldon Stadum. Photo Allan Crane.