Wed, May

Trinidad and Tobago's Sedate McLean keeps pace with a Guatemalan player during a 2024 Concacaf Futsal Championship match at Polideportivo Alexis Arguello, Managua, Nicaragua on Sunday, April 14th 2024.

Despite another valiant effort, T&T men's futsal team fell to an agonising defeat in their second match at the Concacaf Futsal Championships in Managua, Nicaragua on Sunday, as they were beaten 5-3 by Guatemala in an eight-goal group C thriller.

On Saturday, coach Paul Decle's team battled hard and showed quality but they eventually succumbed to a 7-4 loss to the US. In their second game, T&T started impressively as they held the second-ranked Concacaf team scoreless in the first half and held a 2-0 lead by halftime.

T&T got their opening goal from AC PoS playmaker Che Benny, who slid in a shot from point-blank range after receiving a lovely pass from the left by Darius Ollivierra in the sixth minute. Ten minutes later, Benny turned provider as he laid the ball on a platter for Shane Hospedales to finish at the end of a rapid counter-attack.

T&T rode their luck throughout the first period, as goalkeeper and captain Andre Marchan made a number of jaw-dropping saves, while the Guatemalans were also guilty of poor finishing.

The second half proved to be a different ball game, and Guatemala were on level terms by the 26th minute after goals from Bryan Santizo and Alan Aguilar. The Guatemalans got their first lead of the game when Roberto Alvarado punished a woeful giveaway by Matthew Woo Ling, while they established a 4-2 lead before the half-hour mark when Marvin Sandoval beat Marchan with a powerful left-footed shot.

Benny gave T&T hope of a late comeback when he cut the deficit to 4-3 after displaying lovely close control to finish a pass from his AC PoS teammate Michel Poon-Angeron. However, Guatemala put the game to bed in the 35th minute when Patrick Ruiz scored to make it 5-3 after a well-worked corner.

With their second straight win, Guatemala moved to six points and pushed themselves to the group C summit. On the other hand, T&T are still searching for their first point of the tournament and they will aim to get a favourable result against Dominican Republic in their final group match from 12 noon on Monday.

The top two teams from each group, along with the two best third-placed teams, will advance to the knockout stage. T&T will need to get a victory against Dominican Republic to give themselves a chance of advancing from the group and keeping their 2024 Fifa Futsal World Cup hopes alive. The semifinalists will qualify for the World Cup.

SOURCE: T&T Newsday