T&T’s Under-17 footballers got off to their worst possible start to the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) U-17 Men’s Qualifiers at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, on Friday night, going down 2-0 to Haiti in their opening group encounter in front an appreciative crowd.
Though coached by a man considered a master of trickery, the under-17s lacked creativity in the midfield and paid dearly for allowing the opposition room and time, in and around the goal area. They excited the crowd as early as the 7th minute when Isaiah Hudson found room some 20 yards out, but his powerful low drive just whisked past the right upright.
Two minutes later the Haitians squandered a golden opportunity to take the lead. Captain Steeve Selso Saint-Duc found himself at the end of a nicely threaded pass but his weak attempt took a deflection off T&T defender Tyrike Andrews and into the path of Nael Wellofky Elysee who blazed over with the goal at his mercy.
Andrews would be the saviour for the home team in the 17th minute as the visitors found their rhythm. Elysee stormed down the right side and delivered perfectly for an unmarked Steeve Moondestin on top the area but his shot took a deflection off the charging body of Andrews, before rolling to safety. However, the Haitian’s persistence would not be denied in the 21st minute.
Jimmylson Guillaume’s long searching ball for Saint-Duc was met on the head by Jesse Williams deep in the T&T defence, but only as far as Elysee on top the box. The skilful Haitian took the ball down nicely, and drilled it into the bottom right corner, well past the outstretched arms of Emmanuel John in the T&T goal.
Apart from the Haitians, the home team struggled to find the confidence as a unit to keep possession and mount attacks, otherwise it all happened in spurts. They were lucky not to concede another goal before the half-time interval, after Andrews failed to pick up the flight of another searching long ball from the right side to Saint-Duc. But when it fell invitingly for the stocky striker, he turned it wide of the post, with John beaten.
Coach Russell Latapy made two changes at the start of the half, replacing striker Nion Lammy and defender Brandon Semper with Jaydon Prowell and Mickel Orr in an attempt to improve his offence, and it almost produced the desired effect when Hudson broke loose of his marker in the 55th minute but Prowell could not control when Hudson picked him out free in the Haitian area.
They were however made to pay for this in the 67th minute as Haiti scored a second time. Saint-Duc, though clearly the Haitian dangerman, still found himself unmarked on top the T&T area when Jean Jacques Danley picked him out with a telling pass. The skillful striker raced into the box before lifting the ball over the advancing Emmanuel to assure his team full points.
Later the striker missed a golden chance to make it 3-0 when he weaved his way through the T&T defence but his powerful shot came off a defender before being cleared to safety.
T&T’s best chance of the game came in the 90th minute from a free-kick when Andrews went up to use his height. Still, when Jodel Brown picked him out, he headed wide of the mark with the goal at his mercy.
After the game Saint-Duc was adjudged Man of the Match. In an earlier game on the day Jamaica clobbered Bermuda 6-1. The home team will come up against Bermuda this evening from 6.30 pm at the same venue.
T&T U-17s go under to Haiti in CFU opener.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 17 Men’s Team went under 2-0 to Haiti in their opening Group A fixture in the Caribbean Football Union Men’s Under 17 qualifier on Friday night at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
The game followed the opening Group A match which saw Jamaica defeat Bermuda 6-2.
Haiti went ahead in the 21st minute when Nael Wellofky picked up a loose clearance at the top of the box and clinically drilled a low right footer into the left corner of the net past goalkeeper Emmanuel John.
Haitian captain Steve Selso then put his team 2-0 ahead in the 67th minute after a breakaway.
See post-match reactions from T&T head coach Russell Latapy and Haiti’s head coach James Morisset below.
Video - Latapy at Post Match Press Conference after opening loss to Haiti