Trinidad and Tobago’s senior men’s team were defeated 2-1 by Nicaragua in the first of two friendly international matches on Tuesday night. The second friendly will take place on Friday night.
Playing before 6,000 fans at the National Football Stadium in Managua, Nicaragua went ahead in the 3rd minute when Luis Peralta was left free inside the box and headed downwards past goalkeeper Adrian Foncette.
The early goal took Trinidad and Tobago by surprise. The new captain, Carlos Edwards, made his first start since 2013 while Radanfah Abu Bakr, Aubrey David, Jomal Williams and Hughtun Hector all got starts as well.
Foncette conceded a second goal early in the second half when Daniel Cadena struck a volley from 35 yards out.
New national coach, Tom Saintfiet, introduced Cornell Glen and Tyrone Charles in the 54th minute and both injected some life into the attack. Charles delivered one from the left which Glen just missed. Charles later unleashed a right-footed free kick from 20 yards out which clipped the crossbar.
Daneil Cyrus came into a midfield position in the 80th alongside another substitute Curtis Gonzales while Trevin Caesar replaced Nathan Lewis in the 66th. Trinidad and Tobago pulled one back in the 76th minute through Hashim Arcia.
Foncette had one further save to make as the match winded down with Trinidad and Tobago unable to level the scores leaving Nicaragua with the 2-1 victory.
What the coach said after the match
Saintfiet stated, “As a coach, you don’t like to lose. I am disappointed with the result but I can’t be too disappointed in the performance of the team. Nicaragua was full strength and naturally we missed a lot of players. We gave some opportunities for players to make their debuts with a lot of young players in the squad and it was the first game after only two weeks in training together.
“First half, I think it was a neutral game. Both teams didn’t really create chances and it was a little bit sad that Nicaragua scored immediately after a few minutes. It was a goal out of a standard situation with two players didn’t follow instructions of what was done in advance.
“The second half we wanted the make the equalizer but surprisingly they scored out of, first of all, a hand ball in the midfield, but secondly, a world class goal with a player shooting from 30-40 meters. We were now pushed to score two goals.
“Tyrone Charles came on and did well. He hit the cross bar with a fantastic free kick and then he had a good cross. We had a chance to make it 2-1 but it didn’t happen. Then Hashim Arcia scored a good goal 15 minutes from the end. We tried to press more and we had some good occasions. Also, Cornell Glen played very well, was pressing a lot and we tried to go for 2-2 and of course it means the opponent could have some chances as we opened up a bit at the back.
“It was also difficult on the artificial pitch but we can’t change that surface. It was a very disappointing result but a satisfying performance for the first time of this team. Sure there were some weaknesses which we have to improve on and be ready for the future for the most important games against Suriname and Haiti and then Mexico and Panama.
“I am a football coach who likes to look into the future. I saw a lot of good things. I saw a committed team which played very well in the organization, which made some small mistakes that the opponents scored out of. I think it was a decent start with a disappointing result,” the national coach added.