Trinidad and Tobago and Cuba will meet for the Caribbean Football Union Girls’ Under-14 Challenge Series title at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, from 7 pm this evening after both teams won for a second time in as many matches at the same venue on Sunday.
Cuba, coming off a 7-0 triumph over Suriname on Friday, recorded a similar 7-0 thumping of Grenada in Sunday’s opener, led by two goals each from Ainady Montalvo Batista (11th, 23rd) and Dalia Ledesma Baez (13th, 26th), while captain Yeseal Castillo Napotes (39th), Sheila Vega Hernandez (54th) and Amanda Rosabal Rosales (62nd) added one each.
T&T, who hammered Grenda 10-0 in their opener, also dominated their second match and came away 3-0 victors over Suriname.
Striker Breana Smith, who scored five goals in the opening win as a substitute, opened scoring in the 21st minute when she easily fired past goalkeeper Meaga Bolman on a breakaway after Suriname defender Tamar Soesman failed to deal with a long clearance from the T&T half of the field.
Talia Martin doubled T&T’s advantage in the 46th minute when she slotted home from close range following a flighted free-kick into the 18-yard box by Twinkle Thomas before Gamie Waldron completed the scoring in the 49th minute by blasting in a penalty-kick off the underside of the cross-bar after Martin was tripped in the area by Soesman.
With the Cubans enjoying a better goal-difference of plus-14 to T&T’s plus-13, the Marlon Charles-coached locals will need a victory to top the table.
In the opener from 5 pm today, Grenada and Suriname will try for their first points of the competition.
Charles, however, has praised the way the young ladies have been able to adapt in this tournament.
“Suriname played a very compact and tight game so they closed the space up. Our players needed now to try to learn how to break down these teams, so it’s all in the experience and the process because some teams will play open, some teams will play closed, how do I deal with that and as I said this is where the decision making comes,” Charles said after Sunday’s second win.
“I think they adapted very well. It took a while for them to understand because we are not telling them, they need to do that for themselves because this is how you learn.”
With two wins out of two matches, Charles is seeing the progress he wants for the team.
“Our objectives are being met. As I said, the focus for us is technique and decision making and to watch these players try to play in the way we want to play, in our style, and different principles of attack and defence. Every player is trying to do their job, not just as an individual but as a group and as a team, so I’m really happy that these girls are really trying to do the things that we want them to do.”
Charles says he is expecting an exciting match against Cuba because of the similar style of both teams.
“They are a technical team too just the same like us trying to put down the ball and play so it will be very interesting. I think it will be a very good game for this Under-14 level,” he said.
CUBA 7 (Ainady Montalvo Batista 11’, 23’, Dalia Ledesma Baez 13’, 26’, Yeseal Castillo Napotes 39’, Sheila Vega Hernandez 54’, Amanda Rosabal Rosales 62’) v GRENADA 0
T&T 3 (Breana Smith 21’, Talia Martin 46’, Gamie Waldron 49’ pen) v SURINAME 0
Teams P W D L F A Pts
Cuba 2 2 0 0 14 0 6
T&T 2 2 0 0 13 0 6
Suriname 2 0 0 2 0 10 0
Grenada 2 0 0 2 0 17 0