Caledonia AIA forward Jamal Gay scored a 47th minute goal to give Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Team a 1-0 victory over Finland’s Senior team in Wednesday’s encounter at the Dwight Yorke Stadium, Bacolet.
Using the affair as a tune up for the CONCACAF Olympic final round in March, T&T looked a more cohesive unit than the T&T Seniors but had to put up a strong resistance in the second half as the visitors tried to avoid the defeat.
Finland head coach Mixu Paatelainen applauded Gay for the way he took the goal, describing it as one of those decisive moments that brings home a result.
Midfielder Kevin Molino and Micah Lewis proved to be T&T’s two dangerous men in attack and Molino was instrumental in the goal, chipping into the area and Gay, using his strong presence, held off his man to follow up on his initial try and bury the rebound past Fulham goalkeeper Jesse Joronen.
Jayson Joseph had earlier forced Joronen to pull off a good save to his left to deny the home side.
Kasper Hamalainen also tested Andre Marchan in goal while Akseli Pelvas fired over bar from near the penalty spot. Hamalainen also had a header miss the target.
With T&T holding its own at the back, substitute Kaydion Gabriel almost doubled the lead at the other end but he couldn’t beat Joronen. Another substitute Trevin Caesar also had a close try on goal for T&T.
Pelvas had one final attempt in the closing stages but Marchan went down low to protect T&T’s lead and make sure of their confidence boosting victory. Next up for Angus Eve’s team is a friendly against Guyana’s senior team at a date to be disclosed shortly.
Eve was obviously pleased with the result.
“I had an opportunity to see the Finland team against our senior team and I devised a plan to face them and I must say the boys executed that plan very well,” Eve said. “I thought the boys were very disciplined throughout the game for instance Jamal Gay was up front alone but he kept working hard and he took his chance when it came. I think thought that we need to improve on our possession play. In the Pan American Games we played against teams of a similar level in terms of the intensity and today it was the same from the Finland team,” he said.
Paatelainen meantime, though disappointed with the result, said he was happy that his team got the workout they were hoping for on this trip.
“I thought it was another good match and very competitive which is what we wanted. But I am disappointed that we lost the game. We created chances to score maybe four goals but we didn’t take it. It was a valuable exercise to play against another good Trinidad and Tobago team and I wish all the best to the Trinidad and Tobago team in their Olympic qualification,” said Paatelainen who now leads his team to Austria for another friendly international against that country.