Sun, Mar


A gut­sy, but un­lucky T&T per­for­mance against host Mex­i­co in the CON­CA­CAF Beach Soc­cer Cham­pi­onship in Puer­to Val­lar­ta, Mex­i­co on Fri­day night, saw them bow out of the tour­na­ment 4-5.

The win means the Mex­i­cans have ad­vanced to meet Group A win­ners Pana­ma in the semi­fi­nals to­day af­ter the Pana­ma­ni­ans pulled off a hard-fought 6-4 win over Guatemala in an ear­li­er quar­ter­fi­nal show­down.

Fac­ing a team that de­feat­ed them 5-1 in the same round of the com­pe­ti­tion last year, T&T's Beach Soc­cer War­riors were ex­pect­ed­ly ner­vous at the start and they paid dear­ly for it, as the Mex­i­cans raced to a 2-0 lead in the open­ing five min­utes of play. Ab­diela Vil­la was first to a cross ball from the left, to head past Zane Cok­er in the 2nd minute.

And two min­utes lat­er Jose Her­nan­dez with a rasp­ing shot, flew past Cok­er for a 2-0 ad­van­tage in the first pe­ri­od.

Soon af­ter T&T lost goal­keep­er Cok­er who was forced in­to a rash chal­lenge and had to be stretchered off with an in­jured right an­kle that could see him miss the rest of the tour­na­ment. Cok­er was re­placed by Jabari Gray, but be­fore the match could be restart­ed, a swarm of bees hov­ered over the field and caused the ref­er­ee to send the play­ers for a short break.

How­ev­er, the War­riors sprung to life in the sec­ond pe­ri­od of play that turned the match around. With less than a minute in the sec­ond pe­ri­od gone, Shal­lun Bobb got in be­tween the Mex­i­can de­fend­ers to head in for his team, re­duc­ing the score to 1-2.

And with Kevon 'Show­time' Wood­ley silent for most of the ear­ly mo­ments, the T&T strik­er stormed down the right flank to cen­tre per­fect­ly for Shane Hospedales to turn nice­ly on his left foot and shot past the Mex­i­can goal­keep­er for the equal­iz­er 2-2 in the 23rd minute.

At the start of the third pe­ri­od of play, T&T si­lenced the noisy Mex­i­can crowd when Bobb blast­ed the ball past the Mex­i­can cus­to­di­an from the right side to give his team the lead for the first time.

T&T then got a gold­en chance to ex­tend their ad­van­tage from the penal­ty spot when Jair Ale­man en­croached on Wood­ley's ac­ro­bat­ic at­tempt. How­ev­er, Wood­ley fired his shot high over the bars.

In­stead, Mex­i­co's nev­er-say-die at­ti­tude proved to be the de­cid­ing fac­tor. Two goals by Mex­i­co's Jose Viz­car­ra in the 31st and 32nd minute, and an­oth­er by Vil­la in the 30th took the home team through to the semis, de­spite Wood­ley item in the 35th minute.