T&T's senior men's football team suffered its biggest loss under coach Angus Eve, falling to a huge 5-0 defeat to Bolivia in their international friendly match at the Estadio Olimpico Patria in Sucre, Bolivia on Friday afternoon.
The "Soca Warriors" were outplayed by the host team for the entire match and coach Eve admitted that his unit played a very good team under tough conditions they did well and he was pleased with the effort of his young team.
"Not expecting the result but expected the way the game would have gone. When we took the game, not making any excuses, we took the game because it was playing in Santa Cruz which is normal atmosphere. All the guys in here you could hear them coughing, there is a lot of air in the lungs so it was really difficult from a physical standpoint for the players and once your physicality goes, the technical part of it tends to go," said Eve after his first match since being officially appointed as permanent head coach of the men’s team in September 2021.
The match was initially carded for Santa Cruz in Bolivia but was moved to Sucre, which is some 9,000 feet above sea level. It was also the first time that the Bolivian team played in Sucre in 23 years since playing to a goalless draw in a friendly international against Venezuela.
It was a tough clash from the kick-off with the Bolivia side the more aggressive of the two teams.
However, it was Alvin Jones who had the first try at goal for T&T with a right-footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the right which missed to the left.
But it was Bolivia opening the scoring. T&T conceded a goal from the penalty spot after defender Radanfah Abu Bakr fouled Bolivian Erwin Saavedra in the penalty area. Juan Arce stepped up and converted the penalty with a right-footed shot to the bottom right corner in the 34th minute.
Bolivia continued to attack but T&T looked to be heading into the first half, down 1-0 until Rodrigo Ramallo landed a right-footed shot from outside the box into the top left corner in the 45th to give his team a 2-0 lead
Jones almost pulled one back for T&T in the added-on time of the first half, with another right-footed shot from long range on the right but goalkeeper Carlos Lampe saved in the top centre of the goal.
To start the second half, Eve made three changes to his line-up with Reon Moore replacing Neveal Hackshaw, Molik Khan taking over for Ajani Fortune, and Hashim Arcia, who replaced Jesse Williams.
Warriors again had the first chance at goal in the second half but Noah Powder's left-footed shot from outside the box missed the target in the 47th minute.
However, the inexperienced Soca Warriors team deficit increased in the 53rd, thanks to Marcelo Martins' right-footed shot from the centre of the box, sending the ball to the bottom left corner. He was assisted by Bruno Miranda.
Ten minutes later, Martins' had an assist, heading in a pass to Leonel Justiniano, who in turn headed in his team's fourth item.
The fifth and final goal came from a right-footed shot from Bruno Miranda in the 87th.
For the Soca Warriors, the match was the team's first since a 1-1 draw with Guatemala in their final Concacaf Gold Cup Group B series last July 18 which followed a 2-0 loss to El Salvador on July 14, and a 0-0 draw with the region powerhouse Mexico in their tournament main draw opener, four days earlier.
On the pressures of playing against World Cup nation, Eve said in the post-match interview, it was good exposure for the young players that were exposed.
He said, "This is a learning curve we had a lot of young players in this squad here and they would take something from the exercise today. Sometimes you lose a game but you really didn't really lose because we expose so much young players in the game today, I think it's only going to augur well for them playing under this type of atmosphere, atmosphere with the stands, atmosphere with air.
"So this is a learning curve for them because they may have to play in altitude sometimes."
Bolivia 5 (Juan Carlos Arce 35 (pen), Rodrigo Ramallo 44, Marcelo Martins 53, Leonel Justiniano 63, Bruno Miranda 86), Trinidad and Tobago 0.
Trinidad and Tobago (5-3-1-1): 22.Adrian Foncette (GK); 16.Alvin Jones, 5.Jamal Jack, 6.Radanfah Abu Bakr, 17.Mekeil Williams (captain), 18.Justin Garcia (8.John-Paul Rochford 61); 23.Jesse Williams (13.Reon Moore 46), 15.Neveal Hackshaw (14.Hashim Arcia 46), 11.Noah Powder; 20.Ajani Fortune (10.Molik Khan 46); 7.Ryan Telfer (19.Matthew Woo Ling 80).
Unused substitutes: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK), 2.Stephon Marcano, 3.Keston George, 12.Michel Poon-Angeron.
Coach: Angus Eve
Bolivia (3-4-3): 1.Carlos Lampe (GK); 8.Diego Bejarano, 5.Adriano Jusino (4.Luis Haquin 67), 21.Jesús Sagredo (3.Alejandro Chumacero 54); 16.Erwin Saavedra (19.Marc Enoumba 67), 10.Fernando Saucedo (6.Leonel Justiniano 54), 14.Moisés Villaroel, 18.Rodrigo Ramallo (22.Juan Alexis Ribera 67); 11.Bruno Miranda, 9.Marcelo Martins (captain), 7.Juan Carlos Arce (2.Yesit Martínez 79).
Unused substitutes: 12.Daniel Vaca (GK), 23.Jhohan Gutiérrez (GK), 13.César Menacho, 15.Rai Lima, 17.Carlos Áñez, 20.Henry Vaca.
Coach: César Farías.
WATCH: Highlights of Trinidad and Tobago's 5-0 loss to Bolivia.
Bolivia crush lethargic Soca Warriors 5-0.
By Andrew Gioannetti (T&T Newsday).
THE ABSENCE of domestic football in Trinidad and Tobago proved conspicuous as the national men’s team suffered a woeful 5-0 defeat to hosts Bolivia in an international friendly on Friday evening.
T&T coach Angus Eve called up a number of players who were based in the US for this friendly, as the locally-based players (including defender Radanfah Abu Bakr and Justin Garcia, as well as goalkeeper Adrian Foncette and debutant midfielder Molik Khan) have been inactive since the Concacaf Gold Cup last July.
At the high-altitude Estadio Olimpico Patria in Sucre, Bolivia, in the midst of Conmebol World Cup qualifiers, were confident and clinical, while T&T, starting with a five-man back line, appeared keen to invite pressure.
Bolivia obliged, starting with speculative shots, before inching forward and ultimately penetrating the visitors’ defence far too easily for four of their five goals. The T&T defence was breached early in the match when a lobbed ball fell to the feet of forward Marcelo Martins, who slotted easily past Foncette, only for his effort to be disallowed for offside.
T&T’s near escape, however, was followed by a flurry of Bolivia chances. Juan Arce opened for the South Americans in the 35th minute from a penalty, which was a debatable call from the referee, as Erwin Saavendra lobbed Abu Bakr before going down from a slight touch from the centre-back.
Bolivia finished the half ahead 2-0, shortly after midfielder Rodrigo Ramallo shot and scored from outside the penalty box, with minimal pressure.
The match was done and dusted for the Bolivians by the 53rd minute when Martins collected a pass unchallenged inside the box to finish past Foncette.
T&T conceded another soft goal in the 63rd minute when a cross from Martins eluded the heads of Abu Bakr and Jamal Jack for a Leonel Justiano to score.
Miranda rounded off the scoring in the 87th minute.
It was Eve’s first international match since his permanent appointment and the country’s first since competing in the Gold Cup last July. There were few memorable individual performances for T&T. Khan, however, was a bright spark in his lively debut, while most of his teammates looked exhausted and off the pace.
T&T offered very little offensively from the beginning, recording only two attempts on target to Bolivia’s 12 overall. Bolivia also enjoyed almost three-quarters of ball possession.
The Warriors, comprising mostly inactive players (the United States and Canada seasons will begin in April), looked sluggish, uninspired and without a particular game plan, contrary to a Bolivia squad of match-fit players.
The match fell outside of an official FIFA international match window, which meant neither team could compel active and contracted players to feature.
Bolivia will turn their attention to their World Cup qualifying matches against Venezuela and Chile within the next two weeks, while T&T will focus on the first stage of the CONCACAF Nations League, starting in June, unless friendly matches are scheduled before.