Trinidad and Tobago gave up a first half lead to Panama, being turned away 2-1 losers in the first of two friendlies at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Thursday night.
Both teams came together for a much needed warm-up and the stage was set for an interesting encounter with T&T fielding a team inclusive of a few of its experienced players led by captain Tasha St Louis and youngsters such as Shenelle Arjoon and Naomie Guerra.
T&T struck first in fine fashion when Arjoon clinically headed home in the 31st minute, following a proper right-side delivery by former France-based pro Mariah Shade. T&T’s lead which came against the run of play as Panama settled earlier, lasted just over five minutes as Panama captain Natalia Mills tied t up with comfortable finish
And three minutes before the break, Laurie Batista scored what turned out to be the winning item.
T&T were without the injured duo of goalkeeper Kimika Forbes and Arin King.
Both teams will meet again from 4pm on Saturday at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella. Tickets cost $20 and will be on sale at the venue.
Shabazz remarks following T&T Women's 2-1 loss to Panama
Trinidad and Tobago 1 (Shanelle Arjoon 31) v Panama 2 (Natalia Mills 37, Laurie Batista 42) at Ato Boldon Stadium.
(Teams - by Wired868)
Trinidad and Tobago (4-2-3-1): 1.Nicolette Craig (GK); 8.Patrice Superville, 2.Ayana Russell (3.Anastasia Prescott 83), 5.Jenelle Cunningham (6.Natasha St Louis 74), 7.Jonelle Cato; 14.Karyn Forbes, 10.Tasha St Louis (captain); 9.Mariah Shade (15.Kedie Johnson 84), 11.Janine Francois (13.Shenieka Paul 83), 12.Shanelle Arjoon; 17.Andrea Young (18.Naomie Guerra 46).
Unused substitutes: 21.Tenesha Palmer (GK), 16.Nathifa Hackshaw.
Coach: Jamaal Shabazz
Panama (4-2-2-2): 1.Yenith Bailey (GK); 16.Katherine Lineth, 4.Hilary Jaen, 5.Yomira Pinzon, 3.Maria Murillo; 2.Laurie Batista (7.Yasil Atencio 84), 14.Aldrith Quintero; 6.Kenia Rangel, 19.Natalia Mills (captain) (11.Maria Guevara 69); 9.Karla Riley (10.Schiandra Gonzales 84), 15.Lineth Cedeno (18.Erika Hernandez 68).
Unused substitutes: 12.Sasha Fabrega (GK), 8.Rebeca Espinoza, 13.Onelys Alvarado, 17.Anuvis Angulo.
Coach: Victor Suarez
Referee: Crystal Sobers
Type: Friendly international.
T&T women beaten by Panama 2-1 in friendly.
By Nickolai Madray (Newsday).
Shabazz says lack of fitness, matches caused defeat
Trinidad and Tobago’s senior women lost in their international friendly match against Panama 2-1 as the visitors came-back at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, on Thursday night.
T&T women started on the attack as they looked for the opener in the early minutes of the game. T&T’s skipper, Tasha St Louis, tried to supply the local team as she whipped in a corner in the 12th minute, however, Jenelle Cunningham’s shot from inside the box skied over the crossbar.
Panama’s Laurie Lopez tried an audacious effort from outside the 18-yard box, in the 22nd minute, but her shot also sailed just over the bar. T&T women had a terrific opportunity in the 25th minute when St Louis picked out Janine Francois in the penalty area. The captain wonderfully found her team-mate, however, despite Francois turning her defender exquisitely, the forward’s trickling shot was cleared off the line by Panama’s last defender.
T&T managed to break the deadlock in the 33rd minute when Shanelle Arjoon got her powerful header past Panama’s custodian, Yenith Bailey De La Cruz. The local attacker made her way into the box and timed her jump to perfection when she made contact with Mariah Shade’s cross.
In the 36th minute, Panama’s captain, Natalia Urrunaga, pulled her team back level when she was played in, behind T&Ts defence and curled her shot past T&T’s goalkeeper, Nicolette Craig. Panama then took the lead just before the half, via Lopez, as the Panamanian’s pried open TT’s defence once again and the attacker got her toe on the ball to poke it past the onrushing Craig.
T&T came out the tunnel as the stronger side, creating two quick chances soon after the resumption. The ball fell kindly for Francois in the 47th minute, however, the striker went for power and mistimed her connection as the chance went flying away. Shade then tried to find the bottom corner of the goal with her shot from outside the penalty area, but the opponent’s custodian got down in time to make the fingertip save in the 49th minute.
Kayrn Forbes also tested Bailey De La Cruz in the 52nd minute with her effort from a long distance free kick. The scores remained the same as chances were limited by both defences where Panama managed to hold on to the 2-1 lead.
Speaking after the match, T&T’s head coach, Jamal Shabazz, expressed that a lack of fitness and international matches were the causes of his team not being able to walk away with a victory.
During the post-match press conference, Shabazz stated, “I saw a bit of rust falling off some of them after being out of international matches. It was a good exercise for us, and after not being on the field since March last year, this was the kind of game that wakes up the team and gets us reactivated.” He continued, “Inexperience in terms of the back four not being cohesive enough was also a factor as the players were not accustomed to the playing with each other.”
Both teams will face each other again this evening in another friendly at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella. Admission to the venue costs TT $20.
Trinidad and Tobago – Nicolette Craig (GK), Ayana Russell (Anastasia Prescott), Jenelle Cunningham (Natasha St. Louis), Jonelle Cato, Patrice Superville, Mariah Shade (Kedie Johnson), Tasha St. Louis (C), Janine Francois (Shenieka Paul), Shanelle Arjoon, Karyn Forbes, Andrea Young (Naomie Guerra).
Panama – Yenith Bailey De La Cruz (GK), Laurie Lopez (Yasli Rios), Maria Murillo, Hilary Rodriguez, Yomira Rios, Kenia Villareal, Karla Serracin (Anuvis Castillo), Aldrith Humphries, Lineth Valderrama, Kathrine Marcias (Schiandra Jurado), Natalia Urrunaga (C) (Maria Sanchez).