Head Coach Zoran Vranes and his players had something to finally smile about as they pulled off a moral boosting 5-0 victory over hosts Puerto Rico in their final Caribbean Football Union Olympic Qualifier at the Juan Ramon Louriel Stadium, Bayamon on Monday night.
Already out of the Olympic race after their 5-3 loss to St Vincent/Grenadines on the weekend, Vranes’ team will now look ahead to the Pan American Games in Toronto and the result would leave them with some form of relief.
T&T got off to a quick start and opened the scoring in the 6th minute when Portland Timbers 2 forward Rundell Winchester finished well to the dismay of the home fans who had come out in hope of cheering their side to a win.
The scoreline stood at half time but T&T upped the tempo after the break with further goals from Aikim Andrews (62nd), Akeem Roach, his third in two games, in the 76th and a double from Ricardo John in the 82nd and 88th minutes.
T&T finished the group in second spot with three points behind group winners St Vincent/Grenadines (4 points). The Vincentians advances to the semi-final phase.
Vranes said he was pleased to his side bounce back.
“I am happy to see the boys come back and play this way. It has been a long few weeks for them, you know, preparing for the tournament and then coming here to get knocked out after one loss,” Vranes said.
“But I know their capabilities and they were able to put the loss behind them and focus on this game. I think the early start helped us and we never looked back.
“Now we have a few days to prepare for the Pan American Games. The players are anxious because they all would like to play against these quality teams. They want to do well for the country and I think this will be a great opportunity for them to go there and do something good and get the experience for the future.”
T&T faces Uruguay on July 13th, Paraguay on July 17th and Mexico on July 21st.
T&T line up vs Puerto Rico
8-Kadeem Corbin/ Akeem Roach- 73rd minute
9-Xavier Rajpaul/ Aikim Andrews 57th minute
11-Rundell Winchester/ Jomal Williams 83rd
Unused Substitutes: - Aaron Enil, Martieon Watson, Jabari Mitchell, Josiah Trimmingham, Shackiel Henry.