Trinidad and Tobago had a losing start to their 2023 Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship campaign on Monday as they were edged by Panama 2-1 in their Group C opener at Malcolm Park Beach Soccer Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas.
Starting for T&T were Jesse Bailey (captain), Hakeem King, Shane Hospedales, Kareem Perry and Zane Coker (goalkeeper).
In the first of three 12-minute sessions, both teams pressed for the go-ahead goal but neither could find the back of the net.
Perry, however, broke the deadlock early into the second period as he rifled home a right-footed shot into the lower left corner of the Panamanian goal, too powerful for custodian Jaime Londono to get a hand to.
Five minutes into the final third, a defensive blunder between T&T’s Jordan Riley and goalie Zane Coker saw Panama’s Alfonso Maquensi capitalise to level the score.
But with just over three minutes to go, Londono launched a long throw forward and Julio Watson shouldered the ball past Coker, who unsuccessfully appealed for hand ball. The review showed the ball did come off Watson’s shoulder.
T&T rallied to grab the equaliser in the dying minutes but could not find the back of the net once more.
They return to action against last year’s runner-up USA on Tuesday from 1.30pm (T&T time) and play their final group match against Dominican Republic
on Wednesday at noon.
T&T are four-time quarter-finalists in this event. El Salvador are defending champions.
The top two teams from each of the three groups advance to the knockout stage, along with the top two third-place finishers.
Both finalists qualify for the 12th edition of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in November in the United Arab Emirates.
SOURCE: T&T Newsday