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Sat, May

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Hosts Trinidad and Tobago began their campaign in the Hindu Credit Union Caribbean Football Union Futsal qualifying tournament on a winning note at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine on Monday night.


The local team scored a win in their first appearance at such a competition, defeating Puerto Rico 4-2.

On the opening night, three other matches were contested, Guyana overwhelming the Turks and Caicos Islands 11-2; Suriname trounced St Vincent and the Grenadines 7-0; and the Netherland Antilles thrashed Grenada 6-2.

The home team had early shots on goal from Jerwyn Balthazar and Kevin Peters, but they could not find the net. It was Ako James who brought the crowd to their feet when he secured T&T's first item.

T&T were made to work by the battling Puerto Ricans, who gave nothing away. They could not deny a determined Peters forever, though, and he was rewarded for his efforts in the 14th minute, when he unleashed a powerful blast past 'keeper Agustin Perez for T&T's second.

Marvin Lee put T&T up 3-0 in the 18th minute with a close range tap-in. James scored T&T's fourth and final to put them comfortably ahead.

But the Puerto Ricans did not lie down and were eventually rewarded with a penalty in the 28th minute, which Hector Calderon scored to notch his team's first. Jose Garcia got a second consolation item in the final minute of the game, but that would not be enough to prevent a T&T win.

Guyana showed no mercy to their opponents, grabbing a huge win over the Turks & Caicos. The Guyanese, led by Alton Fraser with four goals, romped all through the Turks & Caicos defence, with Erron Hayde getting a hat-trick, and Zevon Atkinson and Kanata Manning scoring two goals each.

The Turks & Caicos had an equaliser from Christopher Bryan after Guyana scored their first, but could not withstand the pressure.

Despite slipping to a 2-1 deficit after they opened the scoring in the 11th minute off the boot of Clifford Braafhart, the Netherlands Antilles were not deterred in their match-up against Grenada.

Grenada equalised through Akenson Neckles and went ahead through Franklyn Baptiste in the 28th minute. The Dutch came back strong, however, as Braafhart equalised soon after. Everon Espacia put his team up five minutes later, and Braafhart and Orlando Reenis scored in the 35th and 38th minutes to seal the win for the Netherland Antilles.

Suriname had goals in the 14th, 15th and 18th minutes for a comfortable first-half lead over the Vincentians in their fixture. In the second half, Suriname scored four more to rout St Vincent 7-0.

The Futsal tournament, which is the first of its kind in the Caribbean, continues tonight and the finals will be played on Friday. The top two group teams will advance to the CONCACAF finals in Costa Rica in July.