Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Men put on a gritty, composed and workmanlike showing against Iran as they fell 1-0 to a 50th minute item in Thursday’s International Friendly at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran.
Karim Ansarifard scored the lone item in the 50th minute after T&T Warriors held their own in the first half to go into the interval at 0-0 against an Iran team that has qualified for three of the last four FIFA World Cups and managed a 1-1 draw with Portugal at Russia 2018.
There was a minute silence before kick off in remembrance of former T&T defender Jlloyd Samuel who played in Iran for just over three years before tragically losing his life in a car accident in England in May.
T&T actually had the first real look at goal as early as the second minute when a long delivery by skipper Khaleem Hyland was picked out by Joevin Jones who went for goal and surprised everyone with the effort which rebounded off the upright. It was an early scare for the hosts and a signal that Lawrence’s men meant business on the chilly evening. It was one of the few days that didn’t contain rainfall in the four days that the T&T team had been in Tehran but the persistent showers during the week has caused a heavy outfield which posed some challenges to both teams. But the game was not short of activity as the 11,000 fans soaked up the action.
Nottingham Forest’s Ansarifard had a 31st minute penalty stopped by goalkeeper Marvin Phillip who later confessed that he knew Ansarifard would go down the right after reviewing video reports by the team analyst this week. The ball fell for the Nottingham Forest forward but he could only blast over bar.
T&T continued to show tenacity and stood up to the aggression of the hosts. On 44 minutes, Lester Peltier, in his first match in three years for T&T, forced himself into a good position on the right and cleverly played one over with the outside of his right boot but the onrushing Nathan Lewis could not connect well enough from the six yard. Skipper Hyland and Paul teamed up well in the middle of the park while the backline of Sheldon Bateau, Daneil Cyrus, Tristan Hodge and Alvin Jones were never intimidated by the 2018 World Cup participants.
Cordell Cato and Duane Muckette came off the bench in the second half to put in a good shift while National Under 20 forward made his senior international debut ten minutes from time against an Iran outfit that included nine members of their 2018 World Cup squad in Russia with six of them starting the encounter.
Trinidad and Tobago (4-2-3-1): 1.Marvin Phillip (GK); 16.Alvin Jones, 18.Triston Hodge; 5.Daneil Cyrus, 4.Sheldon Bateau, 8.Khaleem Hyland (captain); 19.Nathan Lewis, 10.Ataulla Guerra (13.Duane Muckette 61′), 3.Joevin Jones (7.Cordell Cato 71′); 11.Lester Peltier (17.Isaiah Lee 80′),23.Leston Paul.
Unused substitutes: 21.Nicklas Frenderup (GK), 22.Adrian Foncette (GK), 2.Aubrey David, 21.Jomal Williams.6.Keston Julien, 15.Curtis Gonzales,12.Akeem Humphrey.
Head Coach: Dennis Lawrence.
Iran (4-1-4-1): 22.Hossein Hosseini (GK); 2.Vouria Ghafouri (23.Ramin Rezaeian 77), 4.Rouzbeh Cheshmi, 14.Hossein Kanaanizadegan, 3.Ehsan Hajsafi; 26.Ahmad Nourollahi; 16.Mehdi Torabi (28.Sadegh Moharrami 58), 7.Masoud Shojaei (captain) (21.Ashkan Dejagah 58), 10.Karim Ansarifard (24.Ali Gholizadeh 77), 11.Vahid Amiri (9.Omid Ebrahimi 58); 27.Kaveh Rezaei.
Head Coach: Carlos Quieroz.
Dennis Lawrence's post match comments after 1-0 loss to Iran
Iran's head coach Carlos Queiroz's Post Match Comments after 1-0 win over T&T
Highlights with Iran vs Trinidad & Tobago
Queiroz: Good future ahead for Warriors.
T&T Guardian Reports.
On the heels of a 1-0 triumph over the T&T “Soca Warriors” in an international friendly match in Tehran, Iran on Thursday, Iran’s coach Carlos Queiroz said, he was impressed with the level of competition by the visiting T&T team.
Queiroz, a former Portugal national coach who was an assistant to coaching maestro Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, told the T&T media in a rare dressing room interview, it was a good outing that was hampered only by the playing conditions.
“Today, unfortunately, the pitch was not so good for both teams as it has been raining a lot in Iran but I think at the end of the day, there were lots of benefits for both sides. Since 2014 we have not met each other,” Queiroz said.
“A lot of things changed, some players still in the (T&T) team, and two or three players still in my team but with the same quality, same attitude and it was great to have this opportunity to play against T&T.”
“I was impressed with the ability of the team to fight, to play and to counter-attack. I am sure also that under other conditions the team would be much better. It was unfortunate that with the state of the grass it was not possible for the skilful players of Iran and especially the skilful players of T&T to express themselves.”
Having played against the T&T team four years ago, Queiroz said he has seen tremendous improvements, saying the team is much more compact, more aggressive and more organised with young fresh blood in it.
“I think you guys have a good future ahead of you,” said Queiroz. “I want to show my gratitude for this opportunity to work together with T&T. It is always a fantastic opportunity for our players because we play against players with good technique, speed, great attitude and physical power, and it’s always an opportunity for us to learn and progress.”
Iran won the match courtesy of a lone strike from Karim Ansarifard in the 50th minute at the Azadi Stadium.
Queiroz’s opposition number Dennis Lawrence, the T&T coach also expressed similar sentiments.
“It was a very good, competitive game. Exactly the type of game we expected. As I said before, Iran is a very experienced team and I think tonight (Thursday) both teams benefitted from the exercise. I was pleased with the effort of my boys but as I said, well done to Iran on the victory tonight (Thursday).
“You can see the Irani team is well coached. They all knew what they were doing, but we came prepared for the game so it was not going to be easy for them. I felt in the first half we allowed Iran too much possession and we tried to correct it in the second half which I thought we did. There weren’t many chances for us but we got a few.”