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T&T vs Cuba (26-Nov-2004) - U-20.
Sat Nov 27, 2004 08:48
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T&T Under 20s pull off win in Cuba.
Issued By: Shaun Fuentes.


Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 20 footballers came from a goal down to stun Cuba 3-2 in their CONCACAF Under 20 Caribbean zone second round qualifying match at the Estadio Pedro Marrero on Friday evening.
Second half changes by coach Anton Corneal led to two “Super Sub” performances by Tobago-born player Keon Daniel who equalized in the 60th minute and Hayden Tinto who notched a double in the 65th and 75th minutes to see T&T home.
The result was a make up for their earlier affair which saw T&T’s Under 17s give up two late goals in a 3-1 loss to their Cuban counterparts in the CONCACAF Under 17 qualifier at the same venue.
In the Under 20 encounter, the young “Soca Warriors” went out pressuring their opponents from early with the Cuban defenders having to give chase to speedy front duo of Shane Calderon and Christopher Sam.
But the Cubans drew first blood through Mario Gil in the 6th minute when the player worked his way nicely through the T&T defense before shooting low past goalkeeper Thorne Holder. The Cubans went on to dominate the rest of the half.
But T&T settled as the second half started and the introduction of Daniel and Tinto added some spark to their attack.
Cuba still enjoyed the better of the early exchanges as T&T tried to make use of their long ball approach. But then came Daniel in the 50th minute and he changed T&T’s approach, taking control of the middle with some well directed passes which left the Cubans struggling to match T&T on possession.
Following a couple of good combinations, Daniel then moved his way towards goal before unleashing a powerful left footed shot from 15 yards out which left the Cuban goalkeeper hopeless and the T&T contingent up in celebrations of their equalizer.
From then, the game swung T&T’s way. Tinto came on in the 60th minute and his speed and versatility had the Cubans chasing. Corneal also introduced Kevin Crooks and soon after he made his presence felt. A good run down the right led to him crossing for Tinto to hit home one time to send T&T 2-1 ahead on 65 minutes.
T&T were now in control and the Cubans were even pulling up with cramps as the match went on. Realizing they were on top, T&T then went for the kill and Tinto was again the man to do the damage. He combined well with Daniel, collecting a through ball and then hitting home from inside the penalty box for T&T’s third item.
A lapse in concentration allowed Adonis Ramos to pull a goal back for Cuba in added on time but it wasn’t enough to spoil a win on the road for Corneal’s boys.
“I thought the performance and the result was exceptional for the boys,” Corneal told TTFF Media.”I was delighted to see how they went out there and really give it their all, they played to plan and got the result for doing that. All credit must go to them for going to Cuba for their first international away from home and giving this sort of performance,” he added.
The second-leg of the Caribbean Football Union Series 1 will take place in Trinidad & Tobago on the 9th of December, with the Series’ Winner progressing into Group A of the 2005 CONCACAF U-20 Final Round Qualification along with Costa Rica, Panama and the host USA from 12-16 January.

Possible Line-Ups:

T&T:

Thorne Holder; Radhanfah Abu Bakr, Marcelle Francois, Karlon Murray, Joel James; Grabriel Lashley, Makan Hislop (capt), Devon Maxwell (Hayden Tinto 60th), Kendall Jagdeosingh; Christopher Sam (Kevin Crooks 60th), Shane Calderon (Keon Daniel (45th).

Cuba:
Yunaikel Zayas; Yunier Bermúdez (Raysel Mezquía 85th), Erlys Garcia, Yasniel Valdés, Yoany Cartaza; Alexander Carrazana (Adonis Branches 67th), Enrique Villaurrutia, Osvaldo Alonso, Yordanis Alvarez; Leonel Duarte (capt), Mario Gil (Ariel Martinez 80th).

Preview for the return game with: Ian Prescott.

To date, only the Bertille St Clair-coached 1990 T&T Under-20s, who included Dwight Yorke, Angus Eve, Clayton Ince and Jerren Nixon, have advanced through qualifying to a World Championship. But coach Corneal said his first aim will be to see off the Cubans, and then think of next month's CONCACAF final round, which will see the top two finishers among the four Group A finalists advancing to the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands from June 10-July 2. Despite the advantage T&T hold, Corneal is not taking the Cubans lightly and expects the skilful visitors to come firing on all cylinders to level the tie.
Having completed the difficult part by coming out victorious in Cuba, Corneal said they will be seeking to wrap up the two-match series by not allowing the Cubans to play. Corneal said his boys have to let the Cubans know early that T&T are the home team by taking control of the match. He said the surface at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium will give a better roll of the ball, which should more suit his team than what they encountered in Cuba. While confident his squad will win, Corneal was wary of the Cubans, whom he described as a team which likes to play. "At home, they were very good, and so we have to play. They are very much like Venezuela and they also have a couple of players who you would call special," Corneal said, while revealing they had come up with a few ways to score against their opponents.
The young Soca Warriors were in camp at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya and had a 45-minute final training session yesterday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. Corneal's only setback is the loss of United States-based students Makan Hislop and Kevin Crooks, who have exams which prevented them from joining the team. They are likely to be replaced by Akil Edwards (South West Drillers) and Cordelle Samuel (Arima Morvant Fire).

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