It was a reversal of form. After Tuesday night’s 1-2 loss to Nicaragua, Trinidad and Tobago made their new coach, Tom Saintfiet, a happy man on Friday night with a 3-1 victory over the same opponents in Managua.
Once again, Trinidad and Tobago found themselves trailing.
In the first half, Daniel Cadena placed his shot past goalkeeper Adrian Foncette to put Nicaragua 1-0 ahead the 25th minute.
Saintfiet introduced Cornell Glen, Tyrone Charles, Carlyle Mitchell and midfielder Kevan George into his starting team and it paid dividends. Glen and Mitchell got on the score sheet while Charles looked the part alongside George in the midfield, both men putting in a solid shift on the artificial surface.
Defender Maurice Forde made his second straight appearance but couldn’t do much about the opening goal as Jaime Moreno left him on the surface before squaring for Cadena to slot past Foncette.
In the 37 minute, Mitchell played a diagonal ball on the right of the box for a lurking Glen who kept his balance to volley past the Nicaraguan goalkeeper for the equalizer.
Six minutes after the interval, Glen won a free kick midway into the opponents half and Hector floated one in for Mitchell to convert with a header to put Trinidad and Tobago 2-1 ahead.
Trinidad and Tobago increased their lead as Mitchell tussled with three defenders inside the area, going down in the process before the ball came out for Aikim Andrews who took one touch before striking a right-footed volley into the far left corner.
WHAT THE COACH SAID
“As a coach you want to win every match and I was very disappointed after the first match that we lost 2-1. I felt the players deserve more for the effort. So it was very important I think in my mind and in the players mind to get a good result before we travel back.
“It was the last game of 2016 and if we could win this match we would be in a stronger psychological mood to start the competition against Suriname and Haiti. And it think it was a very clear good performance not only tactically but also physically and mentally where we proved today that we could win this match and the result will help us naturally in the near future,” Saintfiet said.
He commended more than handful of players for their efforts.
“It’s always difficult to say because we also have to respect the players that played last Tuesday. They also played quite well last match. Today the guys who came in like Kevan George, Carlyle Mitchell, Tyrone Charles and Cornell Glen did fantastic but it’s not only them, it’s a whole team performance. Even after the changes I have to think of players like Aikim Andrews and other players who performed well.
I think we as a team don’t have one, two, three big players but we have a team performance of 20-23 players who are playing on a high level. Sure today some players showed that they deserved to be on the national team. I think some were a little bit out of selection for a long period and they wanted to prove something and I hope in the coming weeks they can continue that.”
He spoke of the value of the two-week training camp including the two friendlies in Managua.
“I think it’s very important and I am very happy that the Association could organise these matches in a short period of time. People sometimes people forget that I am only two and half, three weeks in Trinidad and that I saw only a few league matches and I had not a lot of time to select and to find the right players for the coming weeks. So this two-week training camp plus these two friendly matches helped me a lot to know which players are ready, which system is best and how we can be prepared for Suriname and Haiti. I am a very happy coach that we use these days between Christmas and New Years to prepare our team because we have made a lot of steps forward.”
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO GEAR UP FOR SURINAME
The Trinidad and Tobago team returns on Saturday and resumes preparations on Sunday evening ahead of their CFU Gold Cup playoff encounter against Suriname next Wednesday from 7pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
Tickets for the upcoming Gold Cup playoff matches are now on sale at all Lotto Locations nationwide.There are three in one season tickets for the three matches costing $$100 for adults and $45 for children. Single match tickets cost $50 for Adults and $20 for children. TTFA Season Pass holders can access the games at no additional cost. The TTFA Season Passes which includes access to the World Cup qualifiers also, are available at First Citizen’s Banks nationwide
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO CELEBRATE AFTER AIKIM ANDREWS SCORED THE THIRD GOAL