Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 20 Men’s Team secured its first win of the Caribbean Football Under 20 World Cup Qualifying series with a 1-0 victory over Guadeloupe in the second game of a double header in the CFU first round encounter at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Wednesday night.
Former Naparima College forward Jarred Dass struck the winning item in the 48th minute to pave the way for T&T getting the three points which left the hosts in second spot on the table behind St Lucia which stopped Turks and Caicos 2-0 in the opening encounter and are ahead on goal difference.
T&T started proceedings a bit shaky but settled as the game processed and should have had a goal or two more in the second half against the visitors who seemed intent on putting up a good fight and never appeared overawed by the occasion of playing before an appreciative T&T support base at the Couva venue.
T&T forward Nicholas Dillon showed good intent and life up top for T&T but failed to put away a couple good chances on goal in the first half. English-born midfielder Morgan Bruce-De Rouche came off the bench in the second half and also had a good crack at goal, a low left footed effort which forced Guadeloupe goalkeeper Davy Rouyard to save low on his near right post.
Guadeloupe had two decent first half tries on goal, one which goalkeeper Jadel Poon-Lewis did well to keep out and another which was gifted to Teddy Nabab after a mishap at the back for T&T, but he somehow managed to drag his attempt wide of the mark with the goal at his mercy.
The winner came when Dass struck a low right footer into the right corner of the net after running on to a loose ball as Dillon tried to get in on goal, forcing a weak clearance by the Guadeloupe defender. Moments later, T&T had another good build up and attempt on goal with Dass swinging one over from the left, and skipper Jabari Mitchell teed up 15-year-old Isaiah Hudson nicely just outside the 18-yard box before his left footed crack was pushed away to safety by the Guadeloupe custodian.
Kareem Riley had a low drive saved by the goalkeeper and Mitchell’s follow up was also kept out by the alert Rouyard.
“It’s a good note on which to start off with a win. We wanted to get over the first game jitters and we definitely know Guadeloupe would have been one of our tougher opposition,” T&T Under 20 head coach Brian Williams said after the win.
“Not knowing much of Guadeloupe other than that they had four players playing in France, I thought we were a little hesitant in going forward in the first half which I was a little concerned about. I asked the midfielders if they could push and play a bit higher up the field in the second half and use a bit more direct balls behind the Guadeloupe defence which we began to do and it worked for us.
“But overall I thought the standard was pretty good and we are happy to start with a victory. I must give compliments to our players and they adhered to instructions especially in the second half. The team has only been together for about two months. We spent the first three weeks screening players so I know the cohesiveness of the team would have been a bit off in our first game. I expect we will settle earlier in the remaining two matches. We will not take any of those two teams for granted because we are looking to top the group and qualify for the next stage,” Williams added.
Team captain Jabari Mitchell said he was relieved to see the team start off by getting the three points.
“I am thankful that we were able to come away with the victory. We knew it would be a game that wasn’t going to be easy and I felt it was important for us to get the three points. We started off a bit slow but then we came back strongly. Now with this game out of the way, we can now focus on the two remaining matches.”
Goalscorer Jarred Dass dedicated his goal to his mother who celebrated her birthday on Tuesday.
“It’s a very special goal for me as it was the goal that brought us our first victory and also my mom celebrated her birthday yesterday so I was happy to score this goal for her as well.
“We were a bit nervous in the early part of the game but I think it was going to be just a matter of time for the players to get comfortable which we ended up doing. I thought the we, the strikers,threw away some chances but we kept our heads up and we were able to pull it off,” Dass said.
T&T faces Turks and Caicos in its second game on Friday at 7:30pm with St Lucia tackling Guadeloupe from 5pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium. T&T are after a spot in the CFU Final Round in Curacao in October and need to top the current group to secure automatic qualification. The top five Caribbean teams from the Final stage will advance to the CONCACAF Finals in Costa Rica next February onwards to the 2017 FIFA Under 20 World Cup in South Korea.
Trinidad and Tobago: 1.Jadel Poon-Lewis (GK); 3.Kori Cupid, 5.Taryk Sampson, 4.Kierron Mason, 6.Noah Powder; 11.Kareem Riley (14.Yohannes Richardson 82), 12.Shane Sandy; 8.Jarred Dass (19.Morgan Bruce-De Rouche 67), 10.Jabari Mitchell (capt) (17.Rushawn Murphy 87), 7.Isaiah Hudson; 9.Nicholas Dillon.
Unused Substitutes: 20.Jabari Brice (GK), 2.Andrew Rullow, 13.Isaiah Garica, 15.Kathon St Hillaire, 16.Micah Lansiquot, 18.Jacob Sooklal.
Standbys: Denzil Smith (GK), Josh Toussaint, Quinn Rodney.
Coach: Brian Williams.
Guadeloupe: 1.Davy Rouyard (GK); 2.Robby Jason, 4.Hanane Nebot, 5.Loic Nuiro (capt), 19.Kevin Moeson; 15.Joris Santenac; 7.Teddy Nabab, 6.Anthony Tafna Danavin (9.Lucas Larochelle 78), 8.Dimitri Bolivar, 14.Thomas Pracin (11.Morgan Saint-Maximin 88); 10.Yvann Macon (Meddy Viardot 73).
Unused Substitutes: 16.Sebastein Trocador (GK), 3.Gabriel Vainqueur, 12.Giovanni Dupalan, 13.Arthur Cadin, 17.Sebastien Manijean, 18.Luca Ramoutar-Badal.
Coach: Moise Castry.
Referee: Johannes Dolaini (Suriname).