A hattrick by midfielder Kayla Taylor paced Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Women to a 3-2 victory over Cuba in their opening CONCACAF Caribbean Final Round match at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday.
Taylor put T&T ahead with a 20th minute item and followed up with further strikes in the 51st and 56th minutes. It was not a walk over for T&T though as Cuba put up a fight and had level the scores through Yennifer Ramos in the 21st and then pulled a goal back to make it 3-2 through Maristania Mengana in the 82nd minute. But T&T help their nerves to see out the remaining eight minutes to come away with the three points. It was a much needed victory to start the final phase for T&T which was captained by Tasha St Louis on the day.
Coach Anton Corneal emphasised the importance of an opening win.
“It was a much needed victory for us and I give credit for the way we were able to go into the game and see it through until the end,” Corneal told TTFA Media. “I thought there were some positive areas for us but Cuba never laid down and allowed us to pull away.
Kayla’s three goals came at vital points in the match for us. When we went 3-1 up it gave us a bit of breathing space but Cuba made it into a match and we were able to keep our composure and come away with the victory.
Now’s we’ll review our performance today, get back to the training pitch and prepare for our next match against Antigua on Wednesday,” Corneal added.
Hosts Jamaica were scheduled to face Antigua/Barbuda in the second outing on Saturday. T&T are competing for one of three places in the CONCACAF Final Round of qualification in the United States in October 4-17 towards the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
T&T – 1. Kimika Forbes, 2. Jenelle Cunningham, 5. Arin King, 6. Natasha St Louis (7.Jonelle Cato, 54’),8. Patrice Supervise, 10. Tasha St Louis (capt), 11. Janine Francois, 12. Kayla Taylor, 13. Natasha John (15.Melissa Baynes, 71’), 14. Karyn Forbes, 16. Aaliyah Prince (9.Liana Hinds, 71’)
Subs Not used – 4. Rhea Belgrave, 20. Saundra Baron (GK), 2.Ayana Russell.
Coach – Anton Corneal.