The Trinidad and Tobago national football team is on the verge of elimination from the 2012 Caribbean Cup after a 2-0 loss to host Antigua and Barbuda tonight at the Antigua Recreation Ground in St John’s.
The result leaves the “Soca Warriors” at the bottom of Group A after two matches with just a solitary point from an opening draw with Haiti on Friday. Trinidad and Tobago plays the Dominic Republic from 5 pm on Tuesday in its final group match while Haiti tackles Antigua and Barbuda from 7 pm.
The Warriors must defeat the Dominican Republic and hope that Haiti also wins. If Trinidad and Tobago and Antigua and Barbuda end on four points each, then the host nation will advance because of a superior head-to-head result. As a result, the “Benne Boys” need only one point against Haiti to advance if T&T wins on Tuesday.
A Dominican Republic triumph over the Warriors would eliminate Antigua and Barbuda regardless of the result in the latter’s game against Haiti.
Trinidad and Tobago made one change to its starting line-up on Sunday with Jamal Gay replacing Vietnam-based attacker Willis Plaza while the left-footed Joevin Jones was moved to the left flank to allow Kevin Molino to play in central midfield.
The Warriors were given more space to play than against Haiti as Antigua and Barbuda defended deep and might have gone ahead in the first half. But right flanker Hughtun Hector blazed over from inside the penalty box with Gay better placed.
The visitors would rue the error as Antigua and Barbuda went ahead, six minutes into the second half, as midfielder Quinton Griffith banged home after his initial free kick hit the Trinidad and Tobago wall.
The Warriors pushed forward in vain for an equaliser but left themselves vulnerable on the counter.
Randolph Burton should have doubled Antigua’s advantage within minutes, on the break, but struck the underside of the bar while T&T defender Carlyle Mitchell made a fine block to thwart Gayson Gregory. Gregory, a former Joe Public and San Juan Jabloteh player, was one of several Antiguan players who had played professionally in Trinidad and Tobago during the last decade.
Devorn Jorsling, who scored a hattrick against Antigua earlier this year, was summoned off the bench and crashed an effort off the crossbar within seconds after a pass from Ataullah Guerra.
But Antigua went ahead in its next meaningful attack as striker Peter Byers, another former Jabloteh player, drilled an angle effort past Trinidad and Tobago captain and custodian Jan-Michael Williams from inside the penalty area.
The Warriors could not find a way back and the desperation of their offensive efforts was arguably summed up by defender Seon Power swinging and hitting fresh air as he attempted a 30-yard volley with his weaker left foot while substitutes Jorsling and Richard Roy waited for service.
Trinidad and Tobago has not qualified for the CONCACAF Gold Cup since 2007 while, should the Warriors fail to defeat the Dominican Republic, it will be the first time that the Caribbean’s most successful regional team left a Caribbean Cup tournament without a victory.
T&T (4-1-4-1): 1.Jan-Michael Williams (capt); 17.Daneil Cyrus, 20.Seon Power, 5.Carlyle Mitchell, 2.Aubrey David; 18.Densill Theobald; 7.Hughtun Hector (13.Richard Roy), 10.Kevin Molino (11.Kevon Carter 68), 8.Ataullah Guerra, 3.Joevin Jones; 15.Jamal Gay, (9.Devorn Jorsling 65).
Unused Substitutes: 21.Marvin Phillip, 4.Curtis Gonzales, 6.Kareem Moses, 12.Lester Peltier, 14.Willis Plaza, 16.Keyon Edwards.
Coaches: Hutson Charles/Jamaal Shabazz
2012 Caribbean Cup
(Sun Dec 10)
Haiti 2 (Leonel St Preux 10, Jean-Phillipe Peguero 39), Dominican Republic 1 (Kerbi Rodriquez 12)
Antigua and Barbuda 2 (Quinton Griffith 51, Peter Byers 73), Trinidad and Tobago 0[standings league_id=8 template=extend logo=true]