Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Men’s team have been eliminated from the Caribbean Cup Finals and missed out on automatic qualification for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup after going down 2-0 to Martinique in their final Third round Group encounter in Fort-de-France on Tuesday night.
Both teams played to a 0-0 draw in a lacklustre affair after 90 minutes but the hosts would go on to break the deadlock through Kevin Parsemain in the 105th minute and Steeven Langil doubled their advantage in the 120th minute to send Martinique through to the Caribbean Cup semi-finals and the Gold Cup as group winners with six points.
T&T, on three points will now enter a group playoff with the two other best second placed teams from the four Caribbean groups from which the group winner will then face a playoff with the fifth placed team from Central America for the fifth Gold Cup spot. Those matches are carded for November but the dates will be finalised and disclosed shortly with T&T already set to play CONCACAF Final round matches at home to Costa Rica on November 11th and away to Honduras on November 15th.
Tuesday’s affair started badly for T&T when captain Kenwyne Jones was forced to leave the field after 15 minutes after suffering a lower right leg injury following a tackle from a Martinique player. Jones, replaced by Trevin Caesar, later returned to the bench on crutches and will undergo a scan in Trinidad on his return to determine the extent of the injury.
Attacking midfielder Kevin Molino was also excluded from the squad and made to watch the game from the stands following a decision by head coach Stephen Hart to leave him out due to disciplinary reasons.
T&T had a couple decent first half chances with Levi Garcia’s shot from the top left of the box hitting the top of the crossbar on it way out while Joevin Jones saw his left footed free kick from the edge of the box hit the right post.
Martinique, though organised and patient in their approach, never took control of the match but T&T themselves failed to take the game to them.
In the second half, Cordell Cato got himself into a good position inside the box but could not get off a shot on goal while Aubrey David had a header go wide of the left post from a right side delivery.
Parsemain who also netted in the 2012 Caribbean Cup semi final match with T&T, punished the visitors for giving up possession in their own half, and latched onto a ball before hitting a low right footer past goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams in the first half of extra time. Langil would then seal the win with a powerfully hit right footed effort which beat Williams on his near left post in the second period of extra time to the delight of some 3,000 local fans.
Hart later expressed disappointment with the performance and the result.
“We weren’t at our best clearly from the opening whistle. We were sluggish and we couldn’t seem to get the tempo of the game up. At the end of the day, too many of our so called quality players were way below their best. Technically we didn’t want the ball and when we did get it we didn’t use it in a positive manner to try and penetrate and put them under any real threat,” Hart told TTFA Media .
“Today where were a lot of players who didn’t press the ball effectively and when we had it, we didn’t play combinations We have always struggled against teams that sit down and play with a lot of discipline and Martinique did that. When they got the ball they took the game down to a very slow level and just played for the mistake and we made the mistake at a crucial time in the game and we paid for it,” Hart added.
T&T’s home-based players will return to Port of Spain on Wednesday night with the overseas-based players heading off to their respective destinations on the same day.
Trinidad and Tobago: 1.Jan-Michael Williams (GK); 5.Daneil Cyrus, 17.Mekeil Williams, 4.Sheldon Bateau, 2.Aubrey David; 19.Kevan George, 8.Khaleem Hyland; 7.Cordell Cato, 3.Joevin Jones (14.Andre Boucaud), 16.Levi Garcia; 9.Kenwyne Jones (capt) (12.Trevin Caesar 15th).
Unused substitutes: 20.Adrian Foncette (GK), 6.Radanfah Abu Bakr, 11.Shahdon Winchester, 18.Tristan Hodge.
Coach: Stephen Hart.