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T&T vs Cuba, 19th, Nov, 2003
Fri Nov 21, 2003 07:23
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Fast start does trick for ‘Warriors’
By Mark Pouchet.

Trinidad and Tobago’s national senior football team took advantage of a fast start and held off a late surge by Cuba to win their friendly encounter 2-1 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium yeterday.
Heavy showers had subsided leaving a wet field that the Cubans had trouble adjusting to in a match that was curtailed to 80 minutes after a slightly late start.
In the first game of a doubleheader- the preface to the Olympic second leg qualifing match between the T&T and Grenada Under-23s, a sharp-starting T&T outfit benefitted from breakdowns in the Cuban play, while managing some crisp passing to open up the visitor’s backline.
T&T’s five man midfield, part of an attacking formation that featured Aurtis Whitley, Nigel Pierre and Cornell Glen up front, effectively pressured their Cuban counterparts in the middle of the park. This unsettled the visitors’ first half game.
That T&T trio of forwards, with their strength on the ball and speed off it, gave the Spanish-speaking Caribbean oiutfit lots of work when the red-white-and-blacks chose the right flank as their preferred choice of advancing the ball goalward.
But their opening item came from some incisive passing down the centre after 12 minutes.
After the Cuban defence bungled possession ten metres in their half, linkman Trent Noel threaded a pass to Pierre, five metres outside the “D”. With his back to the goal, the stocky striker flicked on a back heel into the path of Whitley, who first beat the Cuban rearguard with his well-timed run, before side-footing to the left of goalkeeper Odelin Molina.
It was a well-worked move by coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier’s team that caught the Cubans off guard.
The Cubans could not muster a response, their influential midfielder Yulier Escalona being effectively clamped down by the crowd of active T&T midfielders.
And when the visitors failed to come successfully out of defence near the quarter hour mark, Glen was found wide on the right flank and cureld a cross into the centre that the opponents’ defender Alexander Cruzata headed inadvertently home with Pierre inches away from making contact himself: 2-0.
The Cubans began hanging their shoulders and bickering with each other.
But their Lester More, one part of a three-pronged attack that included Hector Ramirez and the skilful Alain Cervants, should have pulled one back in the dying minutes of the first half when Yulier Olivera’s well-weighted curling free-kick picked him out. More managed to get minimal contact with his head before the ball trickled safely past the far post and the byline.
But a stern talking to by coach Humberto Martinez during the interval and a substitution that introduced talented frontman Maikel Galindo, gave them a goal back, when Galino deftly glanced a header from a left-side cross two minutes after the break.
Through their improved play, featuring well-worked interchanging passes and hard, diagonal running, Galindo came the close to an equaliser after an Escalona through ball produced a swinging kick by Galindo in the six-metre box which saw goalkeeper Kelvin Jack parry onto the post.
Frustrated by their impotence in the second half, the Cubans tried to bait the T&T players. Whitley fell prey to one of their taunts and received a caution for his reaction. But the “Soca Warriors” held their nerve to secure the win.
Patriot Up-Close.
By: Patriot.

Playing before an enthusiastic crowd of 8,000, T&T settled early and were knocking the ball around very well. the Cubans in contrast never really got into any kind of rhythm for most of the first 1/2. The first T&T goal came after a series of REALLY nice knocks just outside the penalty area, with Jabloteh’s Otis Seaton (AKA Autis Whitley) poking it past the Cuban goal-keeper. The second goal was an OWN GOAL scored when a dangerous cross from Cornell Glenn on the right flanks found Cuban defender Yeniel Harquez trying to prevent Nigel Pierre from sending a header into goal, and inadvertently doing the job himself! 2-0, T&T. There was little to see after that goal, coming just before the end of the first half.
In the second half, the game was turned on its head, as Cuba began to assert themselves and even managed to grab an goal early in the second half, substitute Mikael Galindo scored for Cuba! It came when a cross from their left was headed past Kelvin Jack after some slack defending in the box by the T&T defenders. Trinidad and Tobago should have increased their lead in the 51st, but skipper Keyeno Thomas headed a Glenn corner wide. After that the Cubans controlled much of the game in terms of possession but created few noteworthy chances. With time running out, T&T introduced Starworld striker Bevon Lewis for Nigel Pierre, North East Stars Jerron Nixon for Cornell Glenn and Kevin Jeffrey for Autis Whitley, these subs however made little to impact on the game! All in all, a much better performance than I had expected from what was essentially a Jabloteh + 3 squad :-) They did themselves and T&T proud! Someone in the crowd wondered if we had fielded these locals in the Gold Cup Qualifiers against Cuba perhaps they would have qualified, who knows ?

Probable T&T Line-up.
Kelvin Jack, Ian Gray, Keyeno Thomas (capt), Atiba Charles, Cyd Gray, Kerwyn Jemmott, Trent Noel, Romauld Aguillera, Otis Seaton (Kevin Jeffrey), Cornell Glenn (Jerron Nixon), Nigel Pierre (Bevon Lewis).

Subs:
Peter Ramon Fortune, Larry Joseph, Kester Cornwall, Maurice Jackson, Andre Charles.
Victories leave a breath of fresh air for T&T.
By: Shaun Fuentes.

Trinidad and Tobago coach Stuart Charles Fevrier believes that an intense six weeks of training is required for this country's Under 23 team ahead of the final round of CONCACAF Olympic qualification in Mexico.
Wednesday's pair of victories by the Senior Team over Cuba followed by the Olympic team's 3-0 whipping of Grenada left a breath of fresh air over this country's football, particularly after the news broke that the "Soca Warriors" had slipped to 71st on the FIFA world rankings.
At different times during the T&T versus Cuba match, some of the overseas pros in particular Stern John , Dennis Lawrence. and Brent Sancho were in contact with TTFF Media via telephone for updates on the happenings on the pitch and they were pleased that their local-based teammates were able to pull of what was only this country's fourth victory for 2003.
"It really was a pleasure to hear that the guys came away with the win," John. told TTFF Media "I was here sitting anxiously to find out what was taking place back home and even though we went 2-0 up early in the game, I still was a bit uneasy but then to hear that we kept the pressure on to get the win was really good. All credit must go to the local players for going out there and getting the job done. Hopefully we can keep a momentum going and then the foreign players can come and fit into the system," added John who also spoke to Kevin Jeffrey soon after the final whistle. "I am just really glad to hear that we got a victory," said Lawrence.
Fevrier who used a 4-4-2 formation against the Cubans said: "I always had confidence in the local-based players. I also have confidence in the foreign professionals too but the locals are the ones that we have more contact with and so it's only logical that we are better acquainted. I was really happy to field a fully local-based team to see what they could do at the higher level and they came up big,"Fevrier told TTFF Media. He added "I was impressed with the entire team and names like Cornell Glenn, Aurtis Whitley, Kerwyn Jemmot and Nigel Pierre linked well in the offensive third. The back four was steady throughout and the Cubans rarely penetrated to create any goalscoring opportunity except for their goal which came from a set play.
About the Olympic team's win, he said "We showed what we are capable of on a quality ground. The better the ground is, the better we play."
"They played an excellent game with good ball situations, good team play and we also created a lot of scoring chances.
"Now that we have qualified for the final round, we should now have at least six weeks of intense preparations in my opinion," he ended.
The Under-23 teams of Canada, Honduras, Jamaica, United States and T&T advanced to the Final Round of CONCACAF Olympic Qualification, to be held next February 2-12 in Guadalajara, Mexico, as they won their respective second round series on Wednesday. The winner of the last remaining second round tie between Guyana and Costa Rica will also advance to the final stage where they will be joined by Panama and Mexico to contest for two spots in the 2004 Athens Olympics.

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  • T&T vs Grenada (U-23), 19th, Nov, 2003fleX, Fri Nov 21 06:41
    T&T head to Mexico, Good Nov.19 as Seniors, Under-23s win. By Ian Prescott. On a good night for local football, Trinidad and Tobago’s Under-23s advanced to the final stage of qualifying for the 2004... more
    • T&T vs Cuba, 19th, Nov, 2003 — fleX, Fri Nov 21 07:23
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