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Wed, Jun

Trinidad and Tobago's Reon Moore (#13), Duane Muckette (#6), Triston Hodge (#3), and Malcolm Shaw (#19) react after scoring a goal during a 2026 Concacaf Qualifier against Bahamas at the SKNFA Technical Centre, Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis on Saturday, June 8th 2024.
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Trinidad and Tobago's men's football team jumped to the top of their Fifa 2026 World Cup qualifying group after getting a resounding 7-1 win over Bahamas at the St Kitts and Nevis Technical Centre on June 8.

fter drawing their opening group B match with Grenada at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on June 5, coach Angus Eve and his charges came under fire from the TT football public. Eve saw the result as a precious point gained as opposed to two points lost, and his players rebounded in emphatic fashion in their second game as they dismantled the 200th-ranked Bahamian team which utilised the St Kitts Venue as their home base.

Canada-based forward Malcom Shaw called for T&T to be more "ruthless" and "clinical" in the final third, and both he and playmaker Duane Muckette scored braces as the guests registered their largest win since a thumping 9-0 friendly triumph against Barbados in Mucurapo in 2022. It's also one of the biggest margins of victory for T&T in World Cup qualification.

In the 2018 World Cup qualification campaign, the Soca Warriors spanked St Vincent and the Grenadines by a 6-0 margin in Mucurapo, and they also recorded a 6-0 win over Panama in a 2002 World Cup qualifier at the Queen's Park Oval in St Clair in 2000. Meanwhile, in 1996, a T&T team that included players such as Eve, Stern John, Russell Latapy and Dwight Yorke hammered the Dominican Republic by an 8-0 margin in a 1998 World Cup qualifier in Mucurapo.

Now on the sidelines, Eve would have been pleased as punch as the Soca Warriors quickly settled in on the road to put the game well beyond the Bahamian team. The game was well and truly over as a contest by the halfway mark, as T&T stormed out to a comfortable 4-0 lead, before adding three more goals in the second half with a touch of flair as well.

The only real blemish for T&T came in the dying moments of the game, when opposing forward Peter Julmis tapped in from close range to grab a consolation goal in the 87th minute after goalkeeper Denzil Smith pulled off a remarkable save to thwart a rasping Nahum Johnson shot.

Eve made seven changes to his starting XI from the 2-2 draw against Grenada, and he gave a debut to Canadian-born central midfielder Steffen Yeates, who recently acquired his T&T passport. Defenders Triston Hodge, Alvin Jones and Josiah Trimmingham also came into the starting lineup, alongside midfielders Muckette and Andre Rampersad, who formed a good partnership in the middle of the park.

With their 3-5-2 formation, the T&T centre backs positioned themselves as high as the halfway line from the early stages with wing backs Hodge and Jones playing high in the opposition half. The pressure from the Soca Warriors was unrelenting, and it didn't take long for them to break Bahamas' resistance.

The Soca Warriors opened the scoring after just six minutes as Shaw clinically scored from close range after a through pass from Muckette. Muckette, who captained AC PoS to the 2023/24 T&T Premier Football League (TTPFL) title, was arguably T&T's best player on the evening as he seamlessly controlled the game with his poise, vision and slick passing on the artificial turf.

The Bahamians weren't nearly as aggressive as the Grenada team, and the Soca Warriors took full advantage to show off their full attacking artillery.

T&T took a 2-0 lead in the 14th minute as Jones buried from the penalty spot after the marauding Hodge was chopped down in the area by Alexiou Cartwright.

Though they were dictating the pace of the game, a couple of sluggish moments in midfield led to long-range attempts from the Bahamas, and Smith was forced into a fine save from a Michael Massey effort in the 15th minute following a Rampersad giveaway. And after flanker Jordin Wilson wildly flashed over bar in the 39th minute, Muckette resumed regular programming for the Warriors just before the half with his quick double-strike.

Muckette's first goal came in the 43rd minute as he easily shot past Amard Adderley from the edge of the area after receiving a pass from attacker Reon Moore. Muckette's next goal and T&T's fourth was a thing of beauty, as the midfielder applied an emphatic finishing touch to a move which included a neat Moore back heel and an unselfish Shaw layoff.

The goals were flowing for T&T, and they added to their 4-0 advantage in the 56th minute when Moore scored from point-blank range to finish off a left side move involving Yeates and Hodge, who added a different dimension to T&T's play with his runs down the left.

Shaw got his second goal in the 66th minute as Moore got another assist, and substitute Nathaniel James rounded off the scoring for T&T in the 84th minute with a splendid solo effort down the right side.

With their thumping win, the Soca Warriors currently sit atop group B with four points from two matches. Group favourites Costa Rica are second with three points following their 4-0 win over St Kitts and Nevis in their first game.

From 5 pm on June 9, Costa Rica will face Grenada as they aim to return to the group's summit.

The Soca Warriors' World Cup campaign will resume in June 2025 when they host St Kitts and Nevis, before facing Costa Rica in a pivotal clash on the road. Until then, Eve's squad can soak up the accolades from their Bahamian rout.

SQUADS

Trinidad and Tobago (3-5-2): 22.Denzil Smith (GK); 5.Josiah Trimmingham, 2.Aubrey David (captain), 17.Justin Garcia; 16.Alvin Jones, 12.Steffen Yeates (15.Dantaye Gilbert 76), 18.Andre Rampersad (10.Real Gill 76), 6.Duane Muckette (11.Michel Poon-Angeron 67), 3.Triston Hodge; 13.Reon Moore (9.Nathaniel James 67), 19.Malcolm Shaw (23.Kevon Woodley 67).

Unused substitutes: 1.Christopher Biggette (GK), 21.Aaron Enill (GK), 4.Daniel Phillips, 7.Ryan Telfer, 8.Noah Powder, 14.Shannon Gomez, 20.Ajani Fortune

Coach: Angus Eve

The Bahamas (5-2-3): 23.Amard Kesean Adderley (GK); 2.Alexiou Cartwright (15.Jordan Cheetham 77), 8.Evelt Julmis, 6.Jean Ryka Tilo (3.Duane Beneby 83), 10.Lesly St Fleur (captain), 4.Jonathan Miller; 7.Quinton Carey (11.Brandon Adderley 64), 5.Michael Massey (19.Reuben Edgecombe 77); 16.William Gardiner, 9.Wood Julmis, 12.Jordin Wilson (13.Nahum Johnson 64).

Unused substitutes: 17.Kai Perez, 18.Deron Ferguson, 20.Daylan Russell.

Coach: Nesly Jean

Referee: Marco Ortiz (Mexico)


SOURCE: T&T Newsday