class="gkFeaturedItemTitle" T&T stuns Costa Rica in U-17 W/Cup Qualifier to keep hopes alive
(Shaun Fuentes, TTFF)
Trinidad and Tobago stunned Costa Rica 2-0 in their Group B CONCACAF Under 17 World Cup qualifier on Monday night to keep alive their chances for qualifying for the 2013 FIFA Under 17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
An opening goal by US-based midfielder Andre Fortune pushed T&T ahead in the 32nd minute and Brent Sam sunk the Costa Ricans with a left footed free kick strike in the 79th minute to leave T&T on three points, same as Canada heading into Wednesday’s final group game between the Canadians and Costa Rica. Once Canada wins or the match ends in a draw, T&T will advance to the quarter-finals.
Costa Rica must beat Canada by three clears goals to send T&T home. The four semi-finalists will qualify for the U17 World Cup in October.
The victory by the junior Soca Warriors was the first for any T&T team over Costa Rica in competition since the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup when goals by Arnold Dwarika and Mickey Trotman sent T&T in the semi-finals. T&T have never beaten Costa Rica in a World Cup qualifier at any level.
“It’s a brilliant result for us and it shows that we can compete with these teams,” Cooper told TTFF Media moments after the win for his team which has been supported during this campaign by the Ministry of Sport.
“We worked our legs off coming into this tournament and I still felt we didn’t get the right kind of preparation because we got things going a bit late. But with the bit that we got in terms of match preparation added to the fight, belief and effort that we gave, brought us to this victory tonight,” he added.
Team captain Brendon Creed was elated.
“This is what we worked hard for… to come here and show teams like Concacaf that we too can win matches. We were disappointed with the loss to Canada but the boys knew that this could be our last game together in the competition if we didn’t pull it off and we came into the game knowing it was all or nothing. We still have one more game to win to make it to the World Cup and we will do stay focused and achieve what we set out to,” he added.
Costa Rica got a gift in the 8th minute when Honduran referee Armando Castro ruled that Creed fouled the Costa Rican just inside the box. It was a harsh call but the football Gods stayed on T&T’s side as Rory Rivera blasted the penalty over bar.
Prior to that, T&T started the game with much purpose and looked more businesslike than their opponents.
After a couple of attempts which caused little trouble for the Costa Ricans, T&T picked up the pace and Fortune picked his spot nicely, firing a low left footer into the right corner of the goal after collecting from about 25 metres out and advancing goal ward.
It was the ideal scenario for T&T but the Central Americans were not to be outdone and controlled the following few minutes before the break as T&T tried to maintain their lead. Fortune had another effort close to the break which he dragged wide of the right post from outside the area.
At the start of the second half, three minutes in, Arington Torres saw his header go inches wide of the mark. The same player had another header bounce off the upright in the 65th minute.
But T&T kept their composure and worked their way back into the match, frustrating the Costa Ricans at times, forcing them into some untimely challenges. Kishun Seecharan should have done better after being put through on the right but he sent his shot wide of the far post.
Akeem Garcia missed a wonderful opportunity to put T&T 2-0 ahead when his glancing header went wide of the left post in the 73rd.
Substitute Aikim Andrews replaced Seecharan and like he did against Canada, woke up T&T’s right side attack. He was hacked down on the right of the box and Sam made sure with a perfectly taken left foot free kick which beat Jorge Jara all ends up on his near post. Sam was forced off the pitch near the end after suffering a cut to the mouth that required stitches on receiving an elbow from a Costa Rican that went unnoticed by the match officials.
T&T kept their opponents at bay, playing smart and avoiding any late flusters for the remaining minutes to keep their World Cup dreams alive.
T&T line up:
1.Johan Welch, 2. Shannon Gomez, 3 Maurice Ford, 4. Josiah Trimmingham, 5. Leland Archer, 6. Brendon Creed (capt), 7. Kishun Seecharan (8. Aikim Andrews, 73’) 9. Akeem Garcia, 14. Andre Fortune (11.Jarred Dass, 76’), 15. Brent Sam (17. Martieon Watson, 90’), 16. Levi Garcia.
Unused substitutes—10. Matthew Woo Ling,, 12. Jabari Mitchell, 13. Anderson Toussaint. 18. Sterling Noreiga, 19. Weah Adams, 21. Stephon Seepersad