Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach Angus lamented a “lack of professionalism” by his players today, as they failed to hold on to a one goal lead over Tajikistan and eventually lost 2-1 in the invitational King’s Cup tournament in Thailand.
The result means the Soca Warriors will contest the third place playoff on Sunday—against the loser between hosts Thailand and Malaysia—rather than challenge for the trophy.
“I’m extremely disappointed in the result tonight,” said Eve, in the post-game press conference. “I thought we did enough without taking the chances. I didn’t believe that we should have lost the game.
“I’m very disappointed in my players’ lack of professionalism in the second half.”
Trinidad and Tobago brushed aside the effects of the long trip east—and three starters (captain Kevin Molino, midfielder Neveal Hackshaw and right back Alvin Jones) only landed in Thailand yesterday—to make an assured start to today’s game.
The two island republic might have gone ahead in the 16th minute, as forward Levi Garcia glided past opposing defender Zoir Dzhuraboev to create a gilt-edged chance for midfielder Noah Powder. But Powder’s shot was blocked by a combination of the hand and chest of retreating defender Vahdat Hanonov, as the referee signalled for a corner kick.
Judah Garcia, Levi’s younger brother, was less wasteful in the 27th minute. Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Nicklas Frenderup made a punt up the centre of the field and Levi rose to head the ball into Judah’s path, as the latter Garcia sprinted in off the left flank.
Judah held off Tajikistan right back Manuchehr Safarov before prodding the ball around opposing goalkeeper Rustam Yatimov for the opening goal.
The Warriors might have doubled their lead in the 30th minute, when Yatimov palmed a Keston Julien cross into the path of Molino. However, the custodian used his legs to save Molino’s follow-up shot.
Trinidad and Tobago held the ascendancy until the break but, just a minute into the second half, Tajikistan pulled level. Warriors defender Sheldon Bateau misjudged a speculative low pass into the channel by opposing left back Tabrez Islomov and attacker Muhammadjon Rahimov’s shot squirmed through Frenderup’s legs to equalise.
Levi might have restored T&T’s lead in the 48th minute with a low shot on the turn that provoked a fine diving save by Yatimov. But then Tajikistan came closer still to a second in the 57th minute, as Frenderup produced a spectacular reflex save to keep out a close range header by striker Shahrom Samiev.
Frenderup appeared to hurt himself in the process and left the field on a stretcher, with veteran Marvin Phillip coming in to replace him.
Phillip could do nothing about the winner, though, as substitute Eshoni Panshanbe hit a fierce drive into the far corner from the edge of the area to settle the affair. And Tajikistan survived a couple of driving forays into their defensive third by Trinidad and Tobago substitute Reon Moore.
The result extended Tajikistan’s current unbeaten run to four matches while it snapped Eve’s three match winning streak with the Warriors. The Persian Lions are ranked 109th in the world by Fifa while Trinidad and Tobago are 101st.
Although Eve credited the cohesion and passing of his team in the first 45 minutes, he made it clear that he was displeased with the outcome.
“In international football if you don’t take your chances and you make mistakes at the back, then you lose the game more than likely—and that is what happened to us today,” he said. “[…] In the first half, I think we dominated the match without taking the chances that we got; and [in the] second half we were a little back slack defensively and we made two mistakes and we paid for it.”
Trinidad and Tobago will get the chance to return to winning ways on Sunday, against either Thailand or Malaysia.
Trinidad and Tobago (4-2-3-1): 21.Nicklas Frenderup (GK) (1.Marvin Phillip [GK] 61); 16.Alvin Jones, 2.Aubrey David, 4.Sheldon Bateau, 19.Keston Julien; 15.Neveal Hackshaw, 17.Noah Powder (23.Leston Paul 78); 9.Ajani Fortune (14.John-Paul Rochford 67), 10.Kevin Molino (captain), 7.Judah Garcia (13.Reon Moore 67); 11.Levi Garcia.
Unused substitutes: 3.Jesse Williams, 6.Anthony Herbert, 8.Andre Fortune II, 12.Kareem Moses.
Coach: Angus Eve
Tajikistan (4-2-3-1): 1.Rustam Yatimov (GK); 5.Manuchehr Safarov, 6.Vahdat Hanonov, 2.Zoir Dzhuraboev, 3.Tabrez Islomov; 8.Amirbek Juraboev, 19.Akhtam Nazarov (captain); 15.Shervoni Mabatshoev, 25.Nuriddin Khamrokulov, 11.Muhammadjon Rahimov; 22.Shahrom Samiev.
Substitutes: 16.Shohrukh Qirghizboev (GK), 23.Mukhriddin Khasanov (GK), 4.Siyovush Asrorov, 9.Rustam Soiriv, 10.Komron Tursunov, 12.Mehrubon Karimov, 13.Amadoni Kamolov, 17.Eshoni Panshanbe, 20.Alijon Karomatullozoda, 24.Daler Imomnazarov, 26.Parviz Baki-Akhunov.
Coach: Petar Segrt
(Thu 22 September 2022)
Trinidad and Tobago 1 (Judah Garcia 27), Tajikistan 2 (Muhammadjon Rahimov 47, Eshoni Pamshanbe 75).