By SHAUN FUENTES
SECOND HALF goals by substitutes Angus Eve in the 61st minute
and Sherman "Ants" Phillip (80th) and main striker Arnold Dwarika (89th)
pushed Trinidad and Tobago to a come-from-behind 4-1 in a friendly over
Cuba at CONCACAF Centre of Excellence, Macoya, last night.
T&T failed to impress in the first half, managing no more
than three worthwhile attempts to goal. Instead, it was the visitors, who
enjoyed the better of exchanges in attack. Three minutes after Andres
Amoroso saw his header go wide of Russell's
left post the Cubans got the opening goal.
Serguey Senuda hit a stinging right-footer past Russell to stun the local fans.
Following that, T&T hardly threatened the Cuban defence. Joe Public's Dwarika, back from injury and playing in midfield in the first session, had a couple looks at goal, including one in the 36th minute.
Senuda left T&T defenders Denis Lawrence and Sherwin Julien for dead on the left side, travelling to the top of the 18-yard box before hitting a right-footer overbar.
Joe Public's Nigel Pierre and CL Financial striker Ralston James saw little of the opposition's goal until the stroke of halftime.
Pierre was on the end of a right side cross from recalled national midfielder Dale Saunders to head into the right corner of the net for the equaliser in the 45th.
For the locals, coming off a 0-0 draw with Barbados and a 2-1 loss to St Vincent and the Grenadines, coach Ian Portefield's team, missing regular starters, stepped up a gear in the second half.
Senuda had a goal ruled offside by Guyanese referee John Callender in the 48th minute. Wrexham midfielder Carlos Edwards and Lydon Andrews were also introduced by Porterfield.
Saunders had his second assist of the game with a right side cross for Eve to shoot past goal-keeper Odelin Hernandez with the Cuban defence napping.
Phillip, on the field for less than a minute as Pierre's replacement, combined with Edwards before hitting a right-footer past Hernandez from inside the 18-yard box.
Dwarika rounded off the scoring when he clinically headed past substitute goal-keeper Perez Rodriguez following Eve's right side corner.
The victory was a confidence boosting result for T&T ahead of Saturday's friendly against Jamaica at Hasely Crawford Stadium and more importantly the World Cup qualifier against Canada on July 16 in Edmonton, Canada.
T&T put 4 past Cuba
By IRVING WARD
Three second-half goals gave Trinidad and Tobago a convincing come-from-behind
4-1 win over Cuba at the Centre of Excellence in Tunapuna yesterday.
Angus Eve first beat Cuban custodian Odelín Molina Hernández
in the 16th minute to give T&T a 2-1 lead.
Then with just under 10 minutes left in regulation time, with virtually
his first touch of the ball, substitute striker Sherman Phillip buried
a right-footer in the back of the Cuban net to kill off the game as a contest.
Then with the regulation time clock winding down to zero, Arnold Dwarika
rifled home a header off a right-side Eve corner to put a final exclamation
mark on an encouraging showing by the T&T squad.
Earlier, T&T had managed to salvage something from what had been
a poor first half thanks to the work of striker Nigel Pierre.
After his side had been outplayed by the visitors for much of the first
period, Pierre conjured an equaliser out of nothing well against the run
of play on the stroke of half-time. Despite losing his balance, the Joe
Public marksman did well to head a right-side cross from Dale Saunders,
set up by a feed from Arnold Dwarika, back in the direction from which
it had come. To the delight of Pierre’s teammates and the hundreds of spectators
on hand to see the World Cup warm-up match, the effort beat the Cuban skipper
on the first post.
That play apart, there was little that was enterprising in the first
half performance of the T&T outfit. Coach Ian Porterfield’s men, led
by Kerwyn Jemmott and Reynold Carrington in midfield, struggled to string
passes together against their swift-moving Spanish-speaking visitors.
The Cubans had earlier made it crystal clear that they intended to interpret
“friendly” as applicable exclusively to the off-the-field proceedings.
After 11 minutes of skirmishing in which the local side looked decidedly
less at home, striker Serguey Prado Scñudo broke the deadlock. Running
on to a ball from teammate Alberto Perez, he hit a powerful right-footer
past T&T goalie Ross Russell from just inside the penalty area.
But while they continued to enjoy much of the play and the possession
after that, the visitors could not convert their advantage into anything
concrete on the scorecard. And after Scñudo missed an excellent
opportunity to double his team’s advantage, kicking wide at the end of
a fine solo run in the 41st minute, T&T would find a way to draw level.
And then to go ahead for good in the second period.
It was a good way for Porterfield men’s to get themselves ready for
their next assignment, a friendly match against Jamaica at the Hasely Crawford
Stadium on Saturday.
The game is the last warm-up match before the World Cup qualifiers resume in earnest with the squad flying out to Edmonton, Canada for their first challenge next week.