Despite Trinidad and Tobago falling to a 2-1 defeat to host nation Thailand in the third-place match of the King’s Cup at the Chiang Mai Stadium yesterday, head coach Angus Eve said the trip had some benefits.
Eve said the two-game tournament represented an opportunity for him to give some “new players” a chance and also to experiment with his formations.
“We saw this tournament as a good opportunity to bring in some new players who we haven’t seen and who have been playing abroad in different leagues, so this tournament worked for us. It was good. The results didn’t go our way but at least we saw the tenacity of the team and the fight in the team. We saw that we could create chances. Maybe defensively we are still a bit frail but we are a work in progress,” Eve explained.
In yesterday’s match, Eve said they tried a new formation but with the limited time in training ahead of the tournament, the players reverted to something more familiar to them in the second half.
The hosts enjoyed the better of the first half and could have gone ahead as early as the fifth minute, with Supachok Sarachat getting a look at goal.
Thailand continued to press T&T deep in their own half, with Surachat’s corner finding the head of Chalermsak Aukkee but his attempt was cleared off the line by Alvin Jones straight back to the 28-year-old Thailand defender, whose second shot was deflected out to Kritsada Kaman.
Kaman also got a shot off from outside the penalty box but his attempt was blocked as T&T managed to keep the hosts at bay.
Thailand debutant Channarong Promsrikaew then tested goalkeeper Marvin Phillip with a long-distance effort which was tipped over the bar as Thailand continued to pile on the pressure in the first half.
Thailand finally went ahead in the 21st minute after Phillip failed to control a back pass from Sheldon Bateau which resulted in Promsrikaew being given an open look at goal and the 21-year-old made no mistake slotting it into the back of the net.
A minute later, T&T got their first real chance at goal with Levi Garcia crossing the ball into the box for Reon Moore who got his head to it but his attempt was off-target.
Moore got another chance shortly after, this time with a low header which was saved by goalkeeper Kittipong Phoothawchuek.
Garcia also had a couple of chances but couldn’t bring the scores level in the first half.
Of the new formation, Eve said: “Unfortunately, I think it didn’t stuck with them as quick as we wanted it to. Granted that we just had a couple of days with the guys after all the travelling, so we reverted to what we normally know in the second half and I thought it was much better,” he explained.
Finland-based defender Kareem Moses headed home T&T’s equaliser at 1-1 in the 61st minute from a Kevin Molino delivery. Moments earlier, Molino, after entering the match at half-time had an effort pushed out for a corner.
The majority of the second half was played under heavy rainfall and T&T went in search of a go-ahead goal with Ajani Fortune, Molino and Jesse Williams being introduced into the play with John-Paul Rochford also appearing along with defender Anthony Herbert.
But it wasn’t to be for T&T, with the hosts instead grabbing the go-ahead goal through Sarachart in the 72nd minute.
T&T didn’t hang their heads and were unlucky not to snatch a late equaliser with Molino going close at the end. The defeat was yet another loss to Thailand by a one-goal margin for T&T, who were beaten by yesterday’s opponents 3-2 in 2004 and 1-0 in 2018.
T&T will now look to regroup ahead of the March CONCACAF Nations League matches away to Bahamas on March 24 and at home to Nicaragua on March 27.
The locally-based contingent will return to Trinidad on Wednesday with some of the overseas-based pros returning to their respective destinations today.
Trinidad and Tobago: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK); 16.Alvin Jones (10.Kevin Molino 46), 12.Kareem Moses, 2.Aubrey David, 4.Sheldon Bateau (3.Jesse Williams 46), 19.Keston Julien; 23.Leston Paul (6.Anthony Herbert 82), 15.Neveal Hackshaw, 8.Andre Fortune II (9.Ajani Fortune 46); 13.Reon Moore (14.John-Paul Rochford 73), 11.Levi Garcia.
Unused substitutes: 21.Nicklas Frenderup (GK), 7.Judah Garcia, 17.Noah Powder.
Coach: Angus Eve
SOURCE: T&T Express