Che Benny scored probably the goal of the tournament but he could not stop a gutsy T&T team from going down to host Guatemala 3-4 on Wednesday night in the Futsal CONCACAF World Championships at the Domo Polideportivo de la CDAG in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
The result meant the T&T men were booted out without a point in two matches, while the Guatemalans progressed from the group with an unblemished two wins in as many matches.
After a demoralising 2-6 loss to first-timer Dominican Republic on Tuesday night, coach Constantine Konstin's men went into the game needing to beat the Guatemalans by more than six goals to advance, and they thought they were well on their way to achieving this by restricting the home team in the early moments with a close-marking game.
Still, the odd blunders occurred and when Alberto Alvarado broke loose from his marker in the fifth minute, his rasping drive cannoned off the crossbar with goalkeeper Andre Marchan totally beaten.
Konstin's men still battled with heart and they were rewarded in the eighth minute from Benny who quickly converted defence into attack.
The former national youth player caught goalkeeper Lester Arevalo off his line with an audacious long-distance lob that gave T&T the lead.
Jose Ramos then forced Marchan into a desperate save to protect the scoreline in the 10th minute, before later providing for Alan Aguilar on the right side to slot past Marchan for the equaliser in the 11th minute.
Guatemala appeared to have shaken off the tight-hold imposed on them by the Trinbagonians when Ramos handed them the advantage from an acute angle in the 12th minute.
The goal failed to curb the fight by the T&T men, however, and they were again rewarded for it when Neptune equalised in the 16th minute, capitalising on a pass from Darius Ollivierra before steering the ball into an open goal before the half-time interval.
Thereafter, the fluctuating affair continued, with Marchan pulling off two point-blank saves to preserve the scoreline. But he could not prevent the Chapines from going 3-2 up when Wanderley Ruiz slotted the ball into the T&T net from an acute angle.
T&T seem heading for the loss but Benny, in the 33rd minute, connected sweetly with the left-footed shot after Ollivierra fought desperately to keep it in at the byline and flicked it to him.
Guatemala, who had been favoured to win the match handsomely by the pundits, had now been asked to produce an extra effort. Not that their entry to the second round had been challenged but because they were up against the minnows in the group.
And they did not disappoint. Aguilar, the scorer of the first goal, then drilled the final nail in the T&T coffin, a minute from the end with a shot that was out of Marchan's reach.
The result meant that Guatemala and the Dominican Republic have both advanced to the knockout round.
SOURCE: T&T Guardian