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T&T vs Cuba (22-Feb-2005).
Wed Feb 23, 2005 06:26

Only a convincing win will do it.
By: Shaun Fuentes in Barbados.

A draw will do the job but only a convincing victory will be able to restore some pride for the current Senior national team in their closing Digicel Caribbean Cup fixture against Barbados on Thursday.
Following Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat to Cuba, the T&T footballers left themselves needing a draw to advance as the third placed team in the Caribbean to advance to the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup as they hold a better goal average than the host nation which they meet from 8pm at the National Stadium. Later on Tuesday Jamaica got an early goal from Andy Williams to beat Barbados 1-0.
Cuba and Jamaica will fight it out for the first place honours and US$100,000 from 6pm. A third place finish for T&T will see them take home US$20,000.
Yet another disappointing result followed on Tuesday as coach Bertille St Clair’s team, after taking the lead through Cornell Glen, gave up another soft goal and were made to pay early in the second half as Lester More scored what turned out to be the winner in a scrappy affair for T&T.
To add salt to the already wounded ‘Warriors” defender Cyd Gray suffered a serious knee injury and had to be taken to hospital and will miss Thursday’s match while Derek King pulled up with a hamstring and is also out of the final game. The only replacement player likely to make it in time for the Barbados game is American A-League defender Nigel Henry who had been in training with the team for the past few weeks. Prior to that defender Marlon Rojas and Nigel Pierre also missed Tuesday’s loss and will both me missing in action on Thursday.
King had to be taken off after 35 minutes, replaced by Gray and St Clair stuck with the 3-5-2 formation as T&T struggled to gain any momentum while the Cubans exploited the open spaces. All that followed a promising start by T&T after Glen struck a neat shot home from the right of the box in the 13th minute following a pass by David Nakhid, who played the entire match with a head bandage following a cut above the eye in the previous outing.
Then a lapse by Daurance Williams, failing to get back on his line following a clearance, allowed More to sink a long range effort from close to 40 metres out as the stranded ‘keeper failed to get back in position on 23 minutes.
Moments before Nakhid’s left side inswinging corner forced Jaime Valencia to head off the goal line. Some desperate defending, particularly by Anton Pierre, kept Cuba at bay.
But it didn’t take long after the resumption for the eventual winner to come as Lester More ran onto a right side pass, free as a bird, to shoot past Williams. From there on, T&T, still with the same formation, could hardly catch themselves against the now hot running Cubans.
Glen’s one time volley went straight at Odelin Molina in the 60th and a late shot which dipped just as it went over bar from substitute striker Conrad Smith was as much as T&T would see of the opposing goal. Before that fellow forward Scott Sealy also found chances hard to come by.
Leslie Fitzpatrick and Denzil Theobald, along with Lyndon Andrews ran hard but hardly gained controlled in the middle of the park. Not even the late introduction of experienced midfielder Angus Eve could whip up something for T&T in attack.
Added to that, some calls from Guyanese Referee Stanley Lancaster left the T&T contingent furious at times and this led to a couple stoppages as the players ganged up against each other. T&T defender Keyeno Thomas and Lyndon Andrews came out with yellow cards to finish off a miserable evening for St Clair’s men.
Following Tuesday’s loss, St Clair stayed away from excuses. “One of the things coming out of this tournament was being able to see which players can really make that transition onto the next level,” St Clair told TTFF Media shortly after the loss. “Some folks will not like it and will think we should have won every game but this was another lesson for us and hopefully we could learn quickly from it. I know the powers that be and other people will feel let down by the two results but once those involved can see where we went wrong and move on then things should happen for the better.
People will definitely have things to say but this is not the World Cup.Another thing is that all these teams want to beat up Trinidad so definitely come hard at us but this is all up for making us a stronger team.” Now St Clair wants nothing but a win against the “Bajans”. “The two games presented teams that were pressuring us and running at us right through and some guys came out of it looking okay and then some just didn’t show up too well. We have no choice but to win the next game because the Gold Cup is a must for us during the World Cup matches. Coming to join the action will be local soca stars Daw-E-Slaughter, Denise Belfon and KMC to perform at Digicel’s After Party at the Stadium on Thursday night. Hopefully, they will have a winning side of “Warriors” to perform before.

1-Daurance Williams, 16-Anton Pierre, 4-Lyndon Andrews, 5-Keyeno Thomas, 6-Derek King (19-Cyd Gray 36th), 7-Leslie Fitzpatrick (8-Angus Eve 74th), 10-Jose Luis Seabra, 11-Denzil Theobald, 12-David Nakhid, 9-Scott Sealy (14-Conrad Smith 76th), 13-Cornell Glen.

1-Odelin Molina, 2-Silvio Pedro Minozo, 3-Yenier Marquez, 5-Alexander Cruzata (4-Mario Pedraza 51st), 6-Livan Perez, 9-Alain Cervantes (7-Jorge Ramirez 63rd), 17-Pedro Faife, 13-Maikel Galindo, 14-Jaime Colome, 16-Reisandry Cervantes Fernandez, 10-Lester Moré (18-Reinier Alcantara 70th).

Other Digicel Results:
Jamaica 1 v Barbados 0.

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